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GlaxoSmithKline is laying off hundreds of workers in the US. Reuters

British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline has said it would lay off several hundreds of US workers in commercial and research functions, as part of a restructuring in its biggest market where its sales are declining.

The company's Research Triangle Park (RTP) site in North Carolina would be the most affected by the move with about 900 jobs to be redundant. GSK will eliminate about 450 positions in the second quarter of 2015, with the rest being planned for the end of 2015.

GSK is planning to consolidate all its research functions in Philadelphia and Stevenage, near London.

GSK has 4,500 employees and contractors at RTP, including 2,500 who work in research and development. Half of the affected employees at RTP will be offered positions with another company, while some others will be relocated to GSK's campus in Philadelphia, according to the company.

The company has been shrinking its research and development operations in the US, where it is facing deteriorating sales. In particular, the company's respiratory business, which accounted for 30% of its global sales in 2013, has experienced a slowdown.

In order to address the situation, the company announced a $1.6bn (£1bn, €1.3bn) three-year cost-cutting strategy in October as part of its third-quarter earnings.

"This is a significant programme and will result in the loss of several hundred employees in the US commercial business and a similar number in R&D activities based in the US," a company spokesman told Reuters.

"Cuts are not being made across the board but are strategic, focused changes to allow GSK to operate more efficiently. This is a rescaling of work to reflect market forces that were anticipated but that have accelerated and are affecting the entire industry."