Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis International, a multinational pharmaceutical company, has decided to end some of its research projects in Emeryville, California leading to the layoffs of approximately 140 employees engaged in early-stage anti-bacterial and anti-viral research.
The decision to curtail costs and restructure operations in this more challenging pharmaceutical environment is to be expected. A Novartis spokesperson noted, “While the science for these programs is compelling, we have decided to prioritize our resources in other areas where we believe we are better positioned to develop innovative medicine that will have a positive impact for patients. The need for these types of medicines is clear and to maximize the changes that these programs will one day help patients, we are actively engaged in out-licensing discussions with companies focused on developing medicines in these areas.”
One can understand the company’s reluctance to invest in expensive anti-bacterial pharmaceuticals that may be rendered ineffective by the so-called drug-resistant superbugs that seem to be emerging with some regularity. Other major players in the anti-bacterial space like AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly have also curtailed their research and development programs in the past few years.
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