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Novartis to close UK R&D site

Research operations at Horsham expected to end in June

Novartis Horsham

Novartis will close its Horsham, UK, research site later this year with the loss of up to 370 jobs following a global review of its R&D bases.

Following a consultation process that began last November, research operations are now expected to halt by the end of June, bringing the total number of Novartis jobs lost in the West Sussex town since 2011 to nearly 1,000, following manufacturing cutbacks three years ago.

Novartis said the move was “part of the company's ongoing efforts to align resources to serve patients and customers better in a challenging healthcare marketplace”.

The company pledged to work closely with its employees, who will now have individual consultations, and supplier partners at the site to provide them with suitable support.

“We do not yet know the future of the site but are committed to exploring a range of options, working closely with our partners to identify potential new owners. These options could include the use of part of the site for a science or business park,” the company's statement added.

This option was taken by Pfizer, whose research site in Sandwich, Kent was sold to a property consortium with plans to develop it into a hub for science, technology, business and enterprise.

Novartis stressed that the closure of its Horsham site would not affect the rest of its business in the UK, where it employs over 2,500 people across sites at manufacturing Grimsby, Liverpool and Dundee. Its also has a commercial base in Surrey and a diagnostics development team in Kent.

Nevertheless the move will call time on UK work by one of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR), which had been focusing on respiratory research, specifically discovery chemistry, biomarkers and metabolism/pharmacokinetics.

Article by
Dominic Tyer

28th February 2014

From: Research

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