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Novartis to sever 250 U.S. workers

May 24, 2017
Life sciences

Just days after announcing plans to ax 500 jobs in Switzerland, Novartis said another 250 jobs will be eliminated in the U.S., most at its headquarters in New Jersey with some of those headed to a service center in India.

The company filed a WARN notice with the state indicating that 204 jobs would be trimmed from its East Hanover, New Jersey, operations effective July 28. The company confirmed the cuts in an email today, saying the other 45 or so jobs will be eliminated from various U.S. locations including Fort Worth, Texas, and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The job losses follow the company’s creation last year of the Global Drug Development function intended to streamline drug development across all of its units, except for its Alcon products division, explained Eric Althoff, head of global media relations for Novartis. .

“As part of this integration, we will be consolidating our Data Operations organization to our global development site in Hyderabad, India, which allows us to improve efficiencies through increased harmonization and standardization,” Althoff said.

He said the company continues to be committed to its operations in New Jersey and other parts of the U.S. In fact, the company is adding about 40 manufacturing positions to its site in Morris Plains, New Jersey, a facility where it is concentrating on the intricate manufacturing processes necessary to produce CAR-T immuno-oncology treatments.

The company is also adding and subtracting jobs around its global headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, but on a larger scale.

The drugmaker on Friday acknowledged plans to discard 500 jobs in traditional manufacturing, coordination and development operations in the Basel area over the next year and a half, but add 350 high-tech positions in “development and innovative biologics manufacturing.”

The company has been shuffling jobs globally for several years now, having tossed 500 jobs from R&D and administrative functions in 2014 in Switzerland while concurrently adding 500 or so Swiss workers for different positions in the pharma business and other units. Last year, among other changes in R&D, it said it would move its Singapore research base for dengue fever and malaria over to California, and in turn reduce headcount at its Zurich facility and its China biologics group.

The Hyderabad service center has been sucking up a bigger piece of Novartis’ workforce, as the drugmaker moves positions to the lower-wage market, allowing it to cut costs even with the same number of positions.

By Eric Palmer

Source: Fierce Pharma

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