Novartis Cambridge campus begins neuroscience research

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Novartis is returning to an area of medical research that has defeated drug companies time and again over the past decade: diseases of the brain — from depression to Parkinson’s — that affect millions of people worldwide.

The Swiss drug giant has relaunched a division specializing in neuroscience, basing it at its giant research campus in Cambridge and luring a prominent neurobiologist from Stanford University, to take advantage of major new tools that are giving scientists greater insight into how the brain and the diseases that afflict it work.

“It’s a huge unmet medical need,” said Ricardo E. Dolmetsch, Novartis’s new global head of neuroscience.

Novartis is already on a hiring tear, planning to add 30 neuroscience positions this year and another 70 by the end of next year.

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