Viatris to close former Novartis site in California in January, lay off 75

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Viatris is closing a former Novartis site in San Carlos, California. (Pixabay)

Viatris has been busy with cost cuts over the last year, including shuttering a plant in West Virginia that had served as a staple of its community. Now, a former Novartis plant in California—which Mylan had planned on closing even before officially becoming part of Viatris—is winding down operations.

In a notice to California authorities, Mylan said it plans to close a facility in San Carlos and lay off 75 employees effective Jan. 7. Last November, generic drug maker Mylan and Pfizer's Upjohn business merged to form Viatris; a month after the deal closed, Viatris said it would shutter 15 plants worldwide, affecting up to 9,000 employees.

The California closure doesn't come as a complete surprise. Before the Viatris deal went through, Mylan in March 2020 filed notices to "employees and government officials informing them of Mylan’s intent to wind down operations and eventually close its San Carlos facility," a spokesperson said Monday over email. This month, the company has updated its proposed timeline for winding down the site.

"As previously communicated, employees are being offered severance packages that include severance pay, benefit continuation and outplacement counseling and assistance," Viatris' representative said.

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Mylan came to own the San Carlos site through a deal with Swiss drug giant Novartis. After Mylan in 2018 purchased Novartis' TOBI cystic fibrosis drugs for $463 million, the company took an option the following year to buy the site that made them. Novartis had previously purchased the site from Nektar Therapeutics in 2008 for $115 million. 

Meanwhile, the San Carlos news comes after Viatris' high-profile closure of the former Mylan factory in Morgantown, West Virginia, this summer. Employees and local officials had pleaded with the company not to close the decades-old factory earlier this year, but Viatris shuttered the site and laid off around 1,500 employess, according to local reports.