Novartis to disband cell
& gene therapy unit, 120 jobs to go
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[September 01, 2016]
ZURICH (Reuters) - Novartis is
folding activities of its Cell and Gene Therapy unit into other business
and research locations, eliminating 120 positions, the Swiss drugmaker
said on Wednesday.
The move intensifies a corporate makeover begun this year as it
focuses on high-growth areas including cancer immunotherapy.
Basel-based Novartis said the move will not derail its intentions to
file CTL019, a chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CART) therapy, for
treatment of young people with relapsed/refractory acute
lymphoblastic leukemia with U.S. and European regulators in 2017.
Nor will it disrupt a gene editing push that Novartis hopes will
lead to new therapies for hard-to-treat diseases, it said.
Novartis shook up its organization in May, splitting its
pharmaceuticals division into two business units, one focused on
cancer and the second on other drugs, while replacing its longtime
drugs leader, David Epstein.
A company spokesman said the wind-down of cell and gene therapy as a
stand-alone unit is an extension of the changes announced three
"Most associates who were previously dedicated to cell and gene
therapies will now be redeployed to areas where they will share
their knowledge and improve execution of novel therapeutics in the
immunotherapy space," he said in an email. "We remain committed to
CTL019, CART and CRISPR technologies."
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CRISPR stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic
repeats, with Novartis working with partners to use the technology
to edit genes with biological "scissors" that can find and replace
The affected positions are spread across several locations, but
mostly in the United States, Novartis said.
(Reporting by John Miller, Editing by Michael Shields)[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
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