Sandoz India development center loses in realignment

A drug development center in Mumbai will be reorganized out of operation as Sandoz restructures its business in India. An API development plant was closed there in the summer but a spokesman for the generics unit of Novartis ($NVS) said an API manufacturing operation at the same site is unaffected by the moves.

"Sandoz recently optimized its development center network in alignment with its long-term development strategy and to better leverage existing technology and expertise. As part of this decision, we have decided to close the development center in Mumbai, which will impact our staff there," the company said. "We will be supporting them with regards to future employment. We remain committed to India, our commercial operations as well as our significant manufacturing activities in the country and thereby continuing to make available high-quality affordable generics to Indian patients."

A Sandoz spokesman would not say how many employees work at the plant but The Hindu Business Line says it is believed about 150 workers were tied to the center, while Business Standard put the number at 50. Ranjit Shahani, vice chairman and managing director of Novartis India, told the Business Line that Sandoz was trying to employ at least some of the displaced workers at other Novartis facilities. "If this does not provide the desired outcome, we also provide outplacement support to leverage external opportunities."

Business Standard reports that the development work handled at the center is being shifted to two operations in Europe.

The API market in India remains dynamic with a very strong domestic industry and lots of Big Pharma companies with their own operations. Hospira ($HSP) recently agreed to buy an FDA-approved API plant in Aurangabad, India, from Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals for $200 million, while GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) decided to close a 50-year-old plant in Thane, Maharashtra, and turn to the domestic producers for any unmet needs.

- read The Hindu Business Line's story
- get more from Business Standard