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Citing patent expiration, Novartis to lay off 222 New Jerseyans

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Novartis, with its U.S. headquarters in East Hanover, will close its Suffern, N.Y. manufacturing plant, laying off 525 people, including 222 New Jersey residents.

The closure, reported Wednesday by the Star-Ledger, results from the Switzerland-based pharmaceutical company's loss of the patent for Diovan, a blood pressure medication. The patent expired in 2012 and the rise of generic alternatives has pushed demand below the minimum required to continue operations at the Suffern plant.

The closure will occur during the next two to three years, with the company moving employees to other Novartis sites "where possible" or helping them find jobs at different companies, spokeswoman Julie Masow said in a statement provided to NJBIZ.

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