Novartis to lay off 400 at Dublin campus amid global restructuring

Novartis is swinging the layoff ax once again, and this time it’s falling on operations in Dublin.

The Swiss pharma is cutting about 400 jobs at its global service center at Elm Park in Dublin by end of 2024, Ireland’s national broadcaster RTE reports. A Novartis spokesperson confirmed the layoffs to Fierce Pharma.

The “strategic decision” is part of an ongoing review of Novartis’ operations globally, the spokesperson said. The drugmaker unveiled an organizational overhaul back in April and later announced plans to cut 8,000 jobs worldwide to make the company “leaner and simpler.”

Novartis’ global service center in Dublin is more than just a regional office. The more than 1,000 employees currently stationed there belong to two units—Novartis Business Services and Global Drug Development—according to its website.

The business services unit offers scientific and commercial services, plus administrative help such as IT, HR and procurement. As part of the groupwide restructuring, Novartis is combining its technical operations and customer & technology solutions (aka Novartis Business Services) units under one operations department.

The Dublin campus also houses a drug development team, which employs more than 80 clinical scientists and 20 data science and artificial intelligence specialists, Novartis’ website shows. The important unit oversees Novartis’ global clinical trial activities.

The current layoff round only affects the operations unit but not the R&D group, the Novartis spokesperson told Fierce Pharma. Besides, the new announcement also doesn’t cover Novartis’ other sites in Ireland, the spokesperson added. All told, before the job cuts, Novartis employed about 1,500 people across three locations in Ireland.

“Ireland is an important location for Novartis due to its unique eco-system of highly educated, skilled and adaptable workforce which is critical in the knowledge-intensive, high-science, pharma sector,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

But Novartis is slimming down beyond the Dublin campus in Ireland. In March, the company unveiled a deal to sell its Ringaskiddy manufacturing facility located in Cork, Ireland, to CDMO Sterling Pharma Solutions. The site will then serve as a contractor and continue to produce drugs for Novartis. The two parties have said they expect the transaction to be complete in the fourth quarter.

Outside of Ireland, Novartis is embarking on a global cost-cutting and reorganization spree. The cuts won't spare employees in the company's home country of Switzerland, where up to half of layoffs could be managers.