* Some Shanghai, Zurich research activities to close
* Tropical disease research moves to California from
(Updates with job loss figures, comment from Novartis about
Shanghai research centre)
By John Miller
ZURICH, Oct 5 Novartis is closing some
of its research operations in Switzerland and China and cutting
175 jobs, part of the Swiss drug maker's effort to centralise
control over its drug discovery programs and contain costs.
Novartis, which employs 120,000 globally, is also relocating
its tropical disease research arm from Singapore to California.
The Basel-based company is consolidating research oversight
within its Swiss headquarters and the Novartis Institutes for
Biomedical Research (NIBR) near Boston, now headed by Jay
"The creation of a unified early discovery research group
based in Basel, Switzerland and Cambridge, Massachusetts, will
be closely integrated with NIBR's drug discovery teams around
the world," Novartis said in a statement.
Additionally, Novartis is creating two new "centres of
excellence" for bio-therapeutic research in Basel and Cambridge
to explore new therapies derived from living organisms to combat
In the process, 73 positions will be eliminated with
Novartis's closure of its Esbatech facility near Zurich.
Novartis also will shut down its Shanghai biologics group,
shedding its 18 positions, but will continue with the bulk of
activities at its newly opened $1 billion campus in the Chinese
city where 500 people work in research and development.
"The NIBR research and development centre in Shanghai is
established to discover and develop new therapies that address
the unmet medical needs of patients in China," a spokesman said.
As part of its new research strategy, Novartis said it is
creating 20 to 25 new positions at its Basel headquarters.
Additionally, Novartis will relocate its Institute for
Tropical Diseases from Singapore to a facility near San
Francisco, California, that now houses NIBR's infectious
diseases research team.
That means a loss of 84 jobs in Singapore, whose government
helped found the institute in 2002 to combat diseases such as
malaria. Novartis said malaria work will continue at the
Novartis has been paring expensive activities since
announcing a revamp of its pharmaceuticals division in
In August, Novartis disbanded its stand-alone Cell and Gene
Therapy unit, eliminating 120 mostly U.S. jobs while inserting
promising programmes such as chimeric antigen replacement
therapy, or CART, into its oncology business.
(Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Keith Weir)