Novartis

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Company: Novartis
Based: Basel, Switzerland
Themes: R&D, manufacturing, operations

Novartis ($NVS) started off this year with the news that it would lay off close to 2,000 employees in the U.S., starting with hundreds of workers at its U.S. headquarters in hard-hit New Jersey and followed by 1,630 workers scattered around the country.

The pharma giant said it had no choice, with the patent set to expire on Diovan as sales of Rasilez slowed. And that news followed a statement in October that Novartis would slash 1,100 jobs in Switzerland and 900 in the U.S., all while adding 700 workers in India and China, two emerging markets that offer a new source of low-cost labor. At that time, CEO Joe Jimenez said government price restrictions on its drugs necessitated a restructuring.

Out: A neuroscience R&D center in Basel and a manufacturing facility in Switzerland, along with another in Italy. In: Cambridge, MA, where Novartis is building a $600 million research complex near MIT.

Jimenez likes to work with a scalpel rather than an ax, though. He has been consistent in his approach to R&D funding, happy to see a steady flow of new approvals as he builds new drug franchises. He's been more eager to find greater efficiencies in operations while looking for ways to grow in emerging markets.  

For more:
Special Report: Novartis - Top 10 pharma layoffs of 2011
Novartis keeps U.K. respiratory unit after layoffs
Novartis blueprints $550M Swiss drug plant after layoffs backlash
Novartis CEO explains how and why he cut jobs