The pharmaceutical giant Novartis has announced plans to invest CHF90 million ($91.5 million) over three years on a production site for cell and gene therapies. The goal is to enable new treatments to be delivered in Europe.
The expansion will take place at the company’s Stein site in Aargau. As a first step, Novartis plans to create 260 new jobs and says there is potential to raise that number to 450 by 2021. Last year the company announced plans to slash 500 jobs at its Basel headquarters, but said at the time that it wanted to create 350 new positions, mainly in its biotech business.
The first batches of drugs manufactured by the new plant will be distributed in Switzerland and the European Union within two years, Novartis said in a statement on Monday.
“This investment illustrates the changes the sector is undergoing," said Matthias Leuenberger, Head of Switzerland at Novartis. "As we invest in new highly specialised technologies, the importance of some traditional areas will diminish," he said.
The announcement of the investment in Stein comes after the European Commission approved the company’s Kymriah cell therapyexternal link for the treatment of acute B-cell lymphoblastic leukemia in children and young adults up to 25 years.
Novartis already operates a plant in the US in Morris Plains, New Jersey, that specialises in the production of cell and gene therapies.