Novartis confirms facility closure plan with 443 jobs set to go

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Novartis' Horsham, UK R&D site set to shutter
Novartis' Horsham, UK R&D site set to shutter
Novartis has confirmed it is closing a UK facility as part of a global R&D review but remains silent on rumours specific business units will be divested.

The facility in Horsham, West Sussex, was subject to a workforce downsizing in 2011​ when the company announced plans to halve the number of jobs. At the time, Novartis said all 300 jobs (approximately) in its Respiratory Clinical Development and Research would be retained but now the Pharma Giant has proposed shutting the site completely.

Novartis “began ceasing manufacturing operations in 2011”​ at Horsham, a spokesperson told, but yesterday morning announced it is working on proposals to close the site.

The closure forms “part of a strategic review globally,”​ we were told, though decisions on whether R&D operations will be transferred to other facilities, outsourced, or axed altogether have not yet been made.

Such decisions, as well as the fate of the facility itself, will be decided during the consultation period set to last until February 2014, the firm told us.

Subject to the consultation, the company has said 371 jobs will be impacted, along with another 72 jobs at its nearby Frimley, Surrey, pharma division which is set to withdraw marketing and sales support for products in diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the UK.

In restructuring its R&D Novartis - who according to an industry report from August​ is second only to Pfizer in revenues from pharmaceuticals - echoes recent news from Merck & Co​. and Teva​ who have both announced cost-saving cuts in the sector and workforce downsizing.

Further Closure Speculation

According to Bloomberg​ yesterday, the company’s restructuring plans include the potential sale of one or more of its business units, with OTCs, vaccines and animal health operations being the top candidates.

The over-the-counter business is one area media speculation is rife, with Novartis already attributing $51m of exceptional expenses to remediate manufacturing issues at its Lincoln, Nebraska, US facility.

In May, Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez said 300 positions at the site would go​ over 24 months, and manufacturing outsourcing options would be assessed in order to ensure the future sustainability of the facility.

When asked whether the firm was looking to sell off units or if media speculation was related to yesterday’s announcement, Novartis refused to comment on “rumours flying around.”

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