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Novartis Pharmaceuticals announces it intends to close branch at Kent Science Park, Sittingbourne

By Lewis Dyson

More than 70 employees have been told their jobs are under threat after a pharmaceutical company announced it intends to close its Sittingbourne branch.

Workers at Novartis Pharmaceuticals on the Kent Science Park, in Broadoak Road, were called into a meeting today where news of the closure was broken to them.

The site is a Near Patient Testing (NPT) unit that developed the Niji point of care diagnostic device used by medical professionals to diagnose allergic disorders and make treatment decisions.

Novartis is at the Kent Science Park in Sittingbourne
Novartis is at the Kent Science Park in Sittingbourne

The proposed closure will potentially impact up to 72 roles in the UK, six in Switzerland and one in the US. The plan is subject to an employee consultation process and final UK board approval.

A company spokesman said: “The Novartis NPT unit developed the Niji point of care diagnostic device. This was a first for any pharmaceutical company and was developed to meet the needs of patients. However, technology in this space is evolving very quickly.

“Novartis believes that a more sustainable model, and one which better serves the interests of patients, is to partner with external providers, leveraging their technology.

“Novartis has therefore made a proposal to close the NPT unit.”

The company says it worked hard to find a buyer to continue the development of this technology. Unfortunately no one suitable came forward.

It is understood a proportion of those whose jobs will be affected live on the Isle of Sheppey.

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