Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche has opened a new, 17,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on its Nutley campus, where researchers will produce drugs to be used in trial studies around the world, the company announced Friday.
The state-of-the-art building, dubbed the Roche Center of Excellence, was officially opened after about a year of construction, the company said in a news release. The facility will employ scientists and engineers who manufacture tablets, capsules and powders for use in preclinical studies and Phase 1 and 2 studies.
The opening of the facility comes about 10 months after Roche said it was cutting about 4,800 jobs worldwide, mostly in the United States, amid rising health care costs and delays in product launches. The biotech giant said at the time that by 2012, it would shed about 1,000 of the 2,400 jobs at its Nutley campus, which employs workers in pharmaceutical research and early development, product development, and support services.
“This is a vitally important milestone for the Nutley site, as well as pharmaceutical research and early development at Roche,” said Waseem Malick, vice president for pharmaceutical and analytical R&D, in a statement Friday. “It enables continued support of our portfolio, and is another example of Roche’s commitment to Nutley as a major research center for Roche.”
Plans for the facility were approved in May 2010, with construction beginning the following August, the news release said. The new facility will house specialized equipment to process potent compounds into clinical supplies, along with warehouses, mechanical rooms and multipurpose isolation suites for manufacturing.
Roche, which last year had more than 80,000 employees worldwide, moved its U.S. pharmaceuticals headquarters in May 2009 from Nutley to South San Francisco, Calif. About 2,000 employees remain at the Nutley site after staffing cuts in the past year, according to spokeswoman Darien Wilson. The cuts have primarily affected the product development operation at the site, and about 500 more are planned through the end of 2012, she said.
Plans for the new manufacturing center were proposed about four years ago, reflecting the “overall demand for clinical supply and support for the global research organization,” Wilson said in an e-mail.
“The new, state-of-the art facility is the only one within the Roche group capable of handling highly potent compounds, and based on the steady demand, it was important to move forward with this project,” she said.