Novartis to axe £305m NeuTec Pharma

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SWISS pharmaceuticals company Novartis is preparing to axe a North West business it bought for more than £300m just four years ago.

Staff at NeuTec Pharma, which is based at Manchester Science Park, have been put in consultation with a view to the business being shut down.

Founded in 1997 with the backing of 3i and floated in 2002, NeuTec was acquired in June 2007 by Novartis for £305m as it looked to expand its product portfolio.

Despite the price tag NeuTec never made a profit, but was developing drugs to fight hospital superbugs such as MRSA.

Lead product Mycograb was expected to obtain regulatory approval but this never happened which ultimately proved fateful for NeuTec.

In a statement Novartis said: “As a result of the business decision to stop Mycograb development, all options were considered for continuing research at the NeuTec site in Manchester. 

“A proposal has been put forward to cease research at the NeuTec site; as a result a 30 day consultation with the employees at the site has commenced.” 

Among the staff of 30 affected by the decision to close the business are founders  Professor James Burnie and his wife Prof Ruth Matthews.

The pair stayed with the business after the Novartis takeover despite earning around £20m from their 7% stake in the company.

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