Novartis to eliminate up to 500 jobs in Switzerland, add another 350 in biotechnology

Novartis announced plans Thursday to cut up to 500 jobs over the next 18 months in the Basel area of Switzerland, as part of its "ongoing transition to an integrated operating model" introduced in 2016. The move, which could involve relocating some workers to other sites, will affect employees in the "traditional production," coordination and development sectors. The company said it also intends to create around 350 high-tech positions over the same time period, mainly in the sectors of development and production of innovative biotechnology medicines.

"The ongoing implementation of this [operating] model results in adjustments to employee numbers worldwide," Novartis stated. The company provided few details, but said it wanted to close a production site at its Basel campus and another at Schweizerhalle, with part of the jobs transferred to India. Matthias Leuenberger, delegate for Novartis Switzerland, noted that while no other major moves are planned for the country through the end of next year, additional smaller adjustments are still possible.

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Last October, Novartis announced plans to close a research centre in Switzerland and relocate a research unit in China as part of efforts to trim costs and centralise control over its drug discovery programmes. At the time, the company also indicated that it would move its Institute for Tropical Diseases in Singapore to California, so scientists could work on infectious diseases from a single location.

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