Workforce

Novartis is sending 500 jobs to the scrap heap while adding 350 ‘high-tech’ positions for growth

Novartis is taking out the ax again in its ongoing global reorganization, cutting into its R&D group while making room for hundreds of new hires. Following an overhaul that was focused on the US and Asia last year, it’s the Basel campus that’s getting a makeover now.

Up to 500 jobs in Novartis’ drug development, “traditional” manufacturing and coordination group are being scrapped, with the staffers either being laid off, retiring early or moving to other locations. Moving into the company will be 350 new employees for “high-tech” positions in Switzerland, also for drug development as well as “innovative” biologics manufacturing.

You can file this latest round of cuts and growth to a decision the company made last year to improve operations and increase efficiency, a regular theme at the Swiss multinational. This time around R&D has come under intense focus.

Last summer the urge to streamline operations led Novartis to scrap a 400-person cell and gene therapy unit, integrating it back into its overall development operations and cutting 120 positions. Then in the fall the company made several broad moves, adding new research operations based in Cambridge, MA as well as Basel while shuttering two units in China and Switzerland and relocating another from Singapore to the Bay Area.

Several years ago a number of the largest R&D groups at companies like Merck, Pfizer and AstraZeneca all triggered major overhauls. During much of that time, Novartis contented itself with occasional moves like chopping a research group in the UK as it concentrated more in the major hubs. These new moves fall closely in line with similar actions at Merck and AstraZeneca, which have followed up with new plans over the past year to concentrate even more in the big hubs.

Novartis sent a statement on the reorganization to Endpoints News, saying:

Novartis has started the dialogue and consultation with its employee representatives in Switzerland. It will offer full support to all impacted associates ranging from providing services through a job center to maximizing internal and external re-employment, offering social plan conditions, as well as early and voluntary retirement plans.


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