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Novartis to spend $300m on biotherapeutics drive

Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis is currently restructuring its business. © Keystone / Urs Flueeler

Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis is investing $300 million ($288 million) in biotherapeutics development, which includes a new $100 million biologics hub at its home base in Basel.

A further $110 million will be spent on research and production at a Novartis site in Slovenia and $60 million in Austria, the company announced on Monday.

Biotherapeutics is a growing class of medicaments which are extracted or synthesized from biological material, including proteins, cells and genes to treat such conditions as cancer and autoimmune diseases.

“Across the industry, biotherapeutics account for almost one-half of all recent new drug approvals and have enormous potential to address unmet need across a wide range of diseases,” said Reto Fischer, Head of Technical Research Division, Global Drug Development.

The new Swiss biologics hub will be created on the Basel St Johann campus in Basel to complement the company’s existing NIBR biologics centre.

The Basel-headquartered Novartis, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, is currently undergoing a restructuring process. In June, it announced that 8,000 jobs would be cut from its 108,000 global work force. The 1,400 Swiss jobs that will disappear represents some 10% of the staff it employs in its home market.

The company said last month that it will spin off its generics and biosimilar division Sandoz into a separate entity.

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