Novartis has announced plans to close its manufacturing site in Grimsby, UK, by the end of 2020, among a wider job cull likely to affect more than 2,200 positions in the country and Switzerland.

According to the Swiss drug giant, the proposal to shut the site is part of a “global transformation of the manufacturing network and product portfolio, reflecting today’s changing healthcare needs”.

It comes as the firm moves away from high volume products - such as those produced in Grimsby - and towards more specialised and personalised innovative medicines, such as CAR-T cell therapy, which are more complex to produce.

The move will directly affect 395 employees in Grimsby, but additional contactors employed through third parties may also be impacted, the firm said.

“Novartis has been a part of the Grimsby community for many years so this has been a very difficult decision,” said Haseeb Ahmad, Novartis UK country president.

“This decision has been made alongside broader changes to our business globally, and as a result of the changes in our product portfolio which now focuses on more specialised medicines, reflective of today’s changing healthcare needs.”

He went on to stress that the company “remains committed to the UK and believes that the UK is a world-leader in life sciences,” and stressed the move is not linked to Brexit.

Novartis also revealed that around 1,700 job cuts would be made in Switzerland under the plans, which fall under a wider global manufacturing strategy initiated by the firm back in 2016.