UK research centre closure to result in the loss of 371 jobs as firm consolidates its global R&D base
Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis has announced that it plans to close its Horsham site in Sussex, with up to 371 jobs affected. Currently the facility is involved in respiratory research and is one of the few remaining Novartis sites performing research and development in the UK. Last year, the firm slammed the UK for the high cost of conducting clinical trials in the country, warning that business would leave unless more incentives were introduced to encourage firms to carry out R&D. The restructure is intended to concentrate all R&D in three major hubs in Europe, the US and China.
The Horsham site was downsized in 2011, when manufacturing and global development at the site were closed and gastrointestinal research was moved to Basel, Switzerland. The 2011 job losses at Horsham preceded a much larger swathe of job cuts at Novartis, with over 2000 jobs cut in Switzerland and the US in an attempt to improve productivity and absorb pricing pressures in Europe.
In a statement the company explained that it ‘continually evaluates its resource allocation to ensure that the organisation is highly flexible and able to proactively adapt to external challenges to best meet the needs of patients and customers. Our pipeline and future potential growth are strong. However, we face challenges in today’s industry.’
The Novartis statement added that the decision will be subject to an employee consultation process and final approval by the company’s UK board. After the closure of Horsham the company will continue to operate a number of UK manufacturing sites, as well as a team in Sittingbourne, Kent, that develops patient diagnostic tests.