Novartis to close Swiss stability testing site by 2023

A move to specialized and personalized medicines has led Novartis to plan closure of a Swiss stability testing facility by 2023.

Big Pharma has shifted its pipelines away from traditional small molecule drugs to biologics and regenerative medicine over the past 20 years. As such changing needs at Novartis has led the firm to announce it is closing its stability testing facility in Locarno, Switzerland by 2023.

“Novartis plans to adapt its product testing capacity in Locarno, Switzerland, to the evolving needs of its manufacturing network,” a spokesman for Novartis told BioProcess Insider.

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“Amid the company’s shifting focus from high volume products to more specialized and personalized medicines, the company’s pipeline for small molecules medicines is evolving. This has led to a decrease in demand for testing capabilities at the Pharmanalytica testing facility in Locarno which is specialized in performing stability tests and specific release tests for Novartis products.”

Various analytical tests have been completed on more than 55 of the firm’s products at the Locarno site. This includes specific release tests for its products, stability testing, writing stability reports, developing new analytical methods, and storing stability samples in climate chambers.

Additionally, the facility has been responsible for the inspection and investigation of potential duplicate or counterfeit products.

Job losses

Approximately 50 members of staff will be impacted by the planned closure.

“We are very conscious of the impact this announcement will have on our employees and their families. The difficult decision to propose the closure of the facility has been made following careful deliberation and we wanted to communicate the company’s intentions at an early stage and in a transparent manner. We will do everything reasonably possible to help our associates manage through this difficult transition,” the spokesman said.

“Novartis has invited employees and management at its Locarno facility to start the dialogue and consultation process. The company will offer full support to all associates who might be impacted, including a social plan with severance and early retirement packages, support for internal and external re-employment and education funding. Novartis will continue to communicate transparently with associates throughout the process and associates will be treated fairly, in a socially responsible way, and in compliance with applicable laws.”