Novartis is closing a plant in New York where its blood pressure blockbuster Diovan is manufactured in a move that will impact 525 jobs.

In a statement sent to PharmaTimes, the Swiss major said that "changes in our current portfolio, namely the loss of exclusivity of Diovan (valsartan), have significantly reduced the future production demand on the Suffern site". Therefore, "the site's future volumes would be significantly below the minimum required to operate it cost effectively".

As such, Novartis has made "the difficult, but necessary, decision" to close pharmaceutical operations in Suffern and the process will begin in the second quarter, to be completed over the next two to three years. The firm added that "some necessary functions may be transferred to other Novartis sites depending on the business needs".

Jobs come and go in Basel

News of the closure came a day after Novartis announced that it will cut up to 500 jobs at its pharmaceutical headquarters in Basel "to free up" resources in other areas where  "several hundred additional jobs will be created".

The move will see new roles being created to support new product launches in areas such as respiratory (both branded and generic), lung cancer, dermatology and heart disease. The new jobs will notably be in oncology and over-the-counter manufacturing and Novartis said the number of employees in Switzerland will remain stable at about 15,000.

The company stressed that "Basel is still one of the most important centres of innovation"  for Novartis; 12% of its staff are employed in Switzerland, while only about 1% of revenue is generated in the country.