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Novartis pulls out of antibiotics, cuts 140 staff

Published on 12/07/18 at 10:08am

Novartis has announced that it is to terminate its research operations into antibiotics and antivirals in a reorganisation effort that will see 140 staff cut from the company.

The decision affects the company’s antibacterial and antiviral research programmes at the Emeryville, California-based Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) in their entirety; a number of its other operations will also be partially impacted, including  Pharmacology, Protein Sciences, Project Management and global support functions in Global Discovery Chemistry, NIBR Informatics, Scientific Operations and Translational Medicine.

Affected employees are expected to receive severance packages alongside a notice period of 60 days, while a small group stays on to handle the shutdown of operations.

The company did confirm that around 150 staff will remain in the San Francisco Bay Area to support operations at the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases, as well as the firm’s drug discovery efforts.

Novartis’ decision to cut these operations comes at a time when concern for the threat of antibacterial resistance is only growing. A company spokesperson said: “While the science for these programmes is compelling, we have decided to prioritize our resources in other areas where we believe we are better positioned to develop innovative medicines that will have a positive impact for patients. The need for these types of medicines is clear and to maximise the chances that these programmes will one day help patients we are actively engaged in out-licensing discussions with companies focused on developing medicines in these areas.”

Matt Fellows

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