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Novartis pledges to maintain R&D presence in Horsham

Published on 14/08/12 at 09:58am
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Novartis has confirmed that it intends to maintain a presence at its site in Horsham, UK, which has already seen hundreds of manufacturing jobs axed, for the foreseeable future.

The Swiss pharma major first announced plans to close manufacturing operations at the site in 2011, saying at the time that global development and respiratory R&D would continue there for the time being.

Novartis has now firmed up its proposals with a decision to sell off 12 acres of the site to redevelopers and upgrade the remaining space which houses the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) respiratory disease centre.

According to a report in the West Sussex County Times, Novartis is planning to spend around £5 million (almost $8 million) on the site, with the money earmarked for building renovations, landscaping and a new car park where the manufacturing facility was located.

"All proposed changes will be subject to planning processes and it is expected that the redevelopment of the site will continue until 2014," said Novartis in a communication to its staff in Horsham.

Ahead of the announcement last year Novartis employed around 1,000 workers at the site, and the company has said it wants to whittle numbers down to around 440, with more than 80% of these employed in respiratory R&D.

Novartis has been gradually phasing out production at the Horsham manufacturing facility and is scheduled to close it entirely by September 2013.

The company's other UK manufacturing operations in Grimsby, Liverpool and Dundee have escaped largely unscathed during the firm's restructuring process and have been retained by the company.

Phil Taylor

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