UPDATE 1-InVentiv says Novartis to end sales contract

(Adds details, company spokesperson comments)

BANGALORE, Oct 18 (Reuters) - InVentiv Health Inc VTIV.O said the U.S. affiliate of Swiss drug maker Novartis AG NOVN.VX, in conjunction with its streamlining efforts, will end the current sales team contract with inVentiv during the fourth quarter.

The Somerset, New Jersey-based company said its commercial division is in advanced discussions with another client to deploy a significant sales team.

Earlier in the day, Novartis said it would axe about 240 jobs at its U.S. headquarters and cut the U.S. sales force by 1,020, including 510 third-party representatives, following a bigger-than-expected fall in its third-quarter profit.

Marcia Frederick, inVentiv’s spokeswoman, said by phone that there are 510 sales representatives on the Novartis contract.

She did not specify how much the Novartis contract contributed to revenue, but said, “none of our clients represent more than 10 percent of revenue.”

The company had signed a multi-year sales team contract with Novartis in August 2006.

InVentiv’s shares fell more than 2 percent to $40.10 in midday trade on the Nasdaq. They touched a low of $38.66 earlier in the session. (Reporting by Jennifer Robin Raj in Bangalore)