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Roche opens $271m research plant in Basel

Swiss pharma company's new centre will investigate and develop pharmaceutical formulations for new active ingredients

Roche has opened a new R&D centre in its Swiss homeland that will investigate and develop pharmaceutical formulations for new active ingredients and manufacture supplies for global clinical trials.

The pharma company's technical research and development centre cost about 250m Swiss francs ($271m) and is located at Roche's Wettsteinallee, Basel site.

The Centre's work will also include a focus on processing new active ingredients into tablets, capsules and injectable dosage forms in vials and pre-filled syringes.

Speaking at the building's inauguration ceremony, Roche CEO Severin Schwan said that drug dosage forms often need to be every bit as innovative as the active ingredients themselves.

“This is where the groundwork will be laid for transforming novel active pharmaceutical ingredients into medicines that can be administered to patients. Drugs will be 'formulated' here - turned into dosage forms such as tablets and injections that reliably deliver the right amount of active ingredient to the intended target in the body,” he added.

The development is in contrast to the recent decision by Novartis to get rid of positions in Switzerland and move work to low-cost countries in efforts to make annual savings of $200m.

In the company's third quarter financial results for 2011, Joseph Jimenez, CEO at Novartis, said 2,000 jobs would be lost across the group, with two sites in Switzerland to close as well as a further facility in Italy,

Jimenez blamed the cost-cutting measures on an "increasingly difficult environment" that is likely to get even tougher over the next five years.

Roche too is also making heavy job cuts, but these mainly affect positions in sales, marketing and manufacturing in the US due to "increased price pressures and a more challenging market environment".

According to the Roche's third quarter results for 2011, Roche invested over 9bn Swiss francs in R&D during 2010.

28th November 2011

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