Novartis declared plans to lay off approximately 680 staff members in its development organisation on 9 April.

The workforce reductions will take place across Switzerland and the US over the next two to three years, with 440 jobs removed in the former and 240 in the latter, as reported by Reuters.

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The current downsizing is separate from a company restructuring programme, which could see the dismissal of up to 8,000 employees.

Following the layoffs, Novartis aims to ramp up hiring for additional roles, making the global net staff reduction 1%-2%. Reuters reported that the restructuring is planned in a bid to help “local talent such as data scientists and regulation specialists in Britain”.

The Switzerland-headquartered company closed 2023 with a total of 76,057 workers worldwide, as per its 2023 annual report. Approximately 18,200 of those staff members were employed in the Novartis’ research and development department.

In April 2022, the pharma giant announced a company-wide restructuring that resulted in several layoffs in the following months, including a workforce reduction of 103 US employees in August 2023, as per a state WARN notice. As of 10 April 2024, the company currently has 29 public-facing job openings in its Swiss research and development team and 81 in the US location.

The announcement arrives following a continuous flow of high-value deals and acquisitions from the pharmaceutical company. Novartis declared a $2.9bn buyout of the oncology company MorphoSys in February, which was followed soon after by the $835m acquisition of IFM Therapeutics in March. This aligned with a financially successful 2023, in which the Swiss company reported a 62% rise in net income.

In October 2023, Novartis completed the spin-off of its generics subsidiary Sandoz. The structural change allowed the company to shift its focus to developing innovative medicines, according to a 4 October press release.