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Novartis cuts manufacturing jobs in Switzerland and UK

Cuts include closure of Grimsby site by 2020

Novartis

Novartis is to cut 1,700 jobs in Switzerland and around 400 jobs with the closure of its longstanding manufacturing facility in Grimsby, England.

The company announced the cuts today as part of a global programme first begun in 2016 to lower production costs and improve profitability.

Chief executive Vas Narasimhan says the cuts are part of Novartis’ strategy to move away from high-volume drug production towards more specialised and personalised medicines.

This reflects the move away from simpler small molecule-based pills towards a greater reliance on biologics and the new and highly complex manufacturing required for cell therapies, such as Novartis’ CAR-T drug Kymriah.

The company is currently struggling to scale up its CAR-T production worldwide, and wants to divert more investment into the technology.

The company says it has already invested more than $1bn in new production technologies in Switzerland such as its Schweizerhalle facility in Basel, which includes a continuous production plant, cell and gene therapy production facilities, a device assembly building and a new launch facility.

In the UK, the company plans to close its Grimsby manufacturing site by 2020, affecting some 395 local employees.

Novarits’ UK country president Haseeb Ahmad said the decision was not linked to Brexit, and that "Novartis remains committed to the UK and believes that the UK is a world leader in life sciences".

The company says it will explore options for the site, including divestment, which could potentially allow the facility to stay open, and will consult closely and offer support to employees.

Article by
Andrew McConaghie

25th September 2018

From: Research

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