100 jobs saved at Novartis’ Ringaskiddy campus

Pharma giant strikes deal for Swiss group SGS to take over laboratory facilities

Novartis announced plans in 2019 to lay off up to 320 of its 550-strong workforce at the Ringaskiddy campus

Novartis announced plans in 2019 to lay off up to 320 of its 550-strong workforce at the Ringaskiddy campus


Some 100 jobs have been saved at the Cork facility of pharma giant Novartis after a deal was struck for Swiss multinational SGS to acquire its laboratory facilities.

Novartis announced plans in 2019 to lay off up to 320 of its 550-strong workforce at the Ringaskiddy campus as part of a global restructuring. The redundancies were due to start to take effect from mid-2020, expected to be completed by the end of this year.

In a statement on Tuesday SGS said it was pleased to announce the acquisition of the International Service Laboratory (ISL), a part of the Ringaskiddy facility which provides analytical services for pharmaceutical products and substances.

As part of the deal SGS said 100 “highly skilled employees” would transfer to SGS.

“Post-acquisition ISL will continue to provide pharmaceutical quality control testing and support Novartis’ major manufacturing operations,” it said.

“As a recognised centre of excellence, ISL will also become a strategic component of SGS’s global life science laboratories network.”

The group said the acquisition was part of the SGS Group global strategy for the life sciences sector. It said it was focused on supporting the evolving needs of the global healthcare industry, of which Ireland was “an important strategic global hub”.

The acquisition is expected to close at the end of the first quarter of this year subject to approval from the relevant regulatory authorities and SGS obtaining the required licences to operate the facility.

In a separate statement, Novartis said it had collaborated with SGS as an external supplier for a number of years, and looked forward to “a closer relationship”, hosting SGS on the Novartis Ringaskiddy campus.

“The agreement foresees the continued provision of drug substance testing, stability programme management and analytical services and technology to Novartis,” it said.

Maeve Byrne, managing director at Novartis Ringaskiddy, said: “We are very proud of our colleagues in International Service Laboratory, who have a strong reputation of quality expertise over the last 22 years.

“We are excited to secure the continued development of ISL as an analytical centre of excellence as well as to support the sustainability of jobs and expertise. Novartis is happy to host SGS on the Ringaskiddy campus and to continue the collaboration.”

Novartis, which was formed through the merger of Sandoz and Ciba-Geigy, manufactures drugs for hypertension and cardiac problems at the Ringaskiddy plant, which has benefitted from €850 million in investment over the years.

About 110,000 people work at Novartis around the world. Novartis Ireland currently employs more than 1,400 people across three locations in Cork and Dublin.

SGS, which is headquartered in Geneva, provides inspection, verification, testing and certification services. It has more than 89,000 employees and operates over 2,600 offices and laboratories worldwide. SGS currently employs 300 people in Ireland.