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Novartis Grimsby Closure Sees 400 Pharma Jobs Go - But Denies Brexit Link

on Monday, 10 December 2018.

Novartis has announced the closure by 2020 of its manufacturing plant in Grimsby, leading to the loss of 400 jobs.

It is part of the big pharma company's plans to restructure its business and reduce its portfolio, which will see the loss of 2,200 jobs overall.

The company has denied any link to Brexit uncertainties, claiming the move is part of wider plans to increase its profits in light of falling US drug prices.  This is backed up by job losses elsewhere, including 2,000 in Switzerland, where the company has its head office.

Novartis has claimed its Grimsby factory is an "effective, well-running operation", saying it is considering all options, including a sale which could see the facility remain open.

Haseeb Ahmad, the Novartis UK Country President, spoke highly not only of Grimsby, but also the UK moving forward. he said:

"Novartis remains committed to the UK and believes that the UK is a world leader in life sciences. Today's announcement is part of a global review of our manufacturing operations and is not linked to the decision of the UK to leave the European Union."

As part of Novartis's re-focus with new Chief Executive Vas Narasimhan's strategy, it is looking to reduce costs and focus on cutting-edge gene therapy and biologic products, rather than a conglomerate model.

Comment

This is clearly disappointing news for the UK pharma manufacturing industry at a critical time with the UK's departure from the EU, but hopefully the Grimsby plant will be able to continue operations, and it is positive to hear the company's thumbs up for UK life sciences. This announcement is linked to a strategic shift as the pharma industry continues to evolve. With moves away from established manufacturing towards personalised medicines and biologics, there is bound to be some shake up, as well as the growth of new opportunities.


If you have any thoughts on this closure or evolution towards biologics and gene therapy products, please share them with Paul Gershlick in our Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences team on 01923 919 320.