Novartis to close Vienna research facility

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Vienna (dpa) December, 18, 2007 - Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis will close its bio-medical research centre in the Austrian capital Vienna, the company said Tuesday, following an announcement that it would slash 2,500 jobs worldwide.

Vienna's Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research, where around 240 employees conduct research in the fields of auto-immunity and inflammation diseases, will be closed down as part of a global move to streamline structures, Novartis said.

Novartis plans to cut 2,500 jobs across the board in its "Initiative Forward." The company stressed that Vienna's employees were not to be sacked - the researchers will be offered positions in other research facilities and for the remainder a social plan would be prepared within the coming months, a spokeswoman said.

City officials expressed their regret over Novartis' decision, stressing the city's intention to support the affected staff.

"We regret this very much, (Vienna) is a very successful location," trade councillor Renate Brauner was quoted as saying by the Austrian press agency. "We will do everything we can that as much as possible can remain in Vienna," she said, offering the city's full cooperation to Novartis.

Union representatives slammed the decision and announced protest measures. dpa


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