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Novartis job cuts spare Cambridge

A new cutback by Swiss drug giant Novartis AG, which will pare 1,630 US sales jobs and 330 jobs at its US pharmaceuticals headquarters in East Hanover, N.J., won’t affect the planned expansion of Novartis research and drug development operations in Cambridge, the company said yesterday.

Novartis spokesman Jeff Lockwood said the latest round of layoffs stemmed partly from the loss of a Novartis patent for Diovan, a hypertension drug, which the company had anticipated.

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The global research and vaccines and diagnostics sites in Cambridge, which currently employ more than 2,000 workers, are still scheduled to add about 300 jobs over the next five years, Lockwood said.

While some of the sales force cuts may involve Massachusetts-based employees, Novartis hasn’t specified where those cuts will be made, he said.

Novartis last October disclosed a broader restructuring plan aimed at shedding 2,000 jobs in the United States and Europe, but the company said no jobs would be eliminated at its Cambridge sites in that rollback either. Cambridge is world headquarters of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, the company’s research and development engine, and also is home to a vaccine and diagnostic division.

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