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Novartis to close UK research site

Published on 16/03/11 at 02:26pm

[UPDATE: Novartis has confirmed it will close its manufacturing site in Horsham, but continue to conduct respiratory research at the site - read more]

Novartis is set to announce the closure of its UK research site in Horsham, West Sussex, Pharmafocus has learned.

The site is the company’s worldwide headquarters for respiratory and gastro-intestinal research, and employs over 500 scientists in a £42 million purpose-built centre.

The Horsham centre also houses the UK company’s pharmaceutical operations unit and consumer health division.

The company is set to make a formal statement on the site’s future at 4pm this afternoon, and has so far refused to confirm reports of an announcement to employees earlier today.

In a holding statement, Novartis said only that it was continually reviewing its global operations “to ensure we have the right capacity in place for market demand and the Novartis development pipeline, and to ensure that our strategic focus is appropriately aligned.”

If the closure of the site is confirmed and research ceases at the site, the news will be another major blow to the UK pharmaceutical industry, following Pfizer’s recent decision to close its R&D operations in Sandwich, Kent with the loss of nearly 2,400 jobs.

Andrew McConaghie

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