Novartis to close UK research operations

Novartis is to pull the plug on its R&D site in the UK in Horsham, which has focused on respiratory research

The writing has been on the wall for the UK site since at least November 2013, but the Swiss firm has been disinvesting in the site for a number of years. Research operations at the site will now cease at the end of June.

The firm has confirmed that there will be 371 jobs lost. The company says the decision is a result of a global review of R&D locations, and there is little suggestion that the closure reflects on the UK’s research environment.

Nevertheless, the news is a blow for the country, which has seen several major pharma firms such as Pfizer and AstraZeneca scaling back their operations and headcount in recent years.

Like all of its competitors, Novartis has chosen to cut the number of its global locations, in its case focusing around research hubs in Basel, Switzerland, Cambridge, Massachusetts and Shanghai in China.

Novartis says it is committed to exploring a range of options for the Horsham site, and will work closely with its partners to identify potential new owners. These options could include the use of part of the site for a science or business park.

Novartis says it continues to employ over 2500 people and invest in the UK. It retains a manufacturing sites at Grimsby (Chemical Operations), Liverpool (Vaccines) and Dundee (Animal Health), commercial offices in Surrey, and a team at Sittingbourne, Kent, developing near patient diagnostic testing products.

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