Web Date: January 18, 2007
AstraZeneca Adds R&D Jobs In U.S.
AstraZeneca is increasing its efforts to battle infectious disease through a $100 million expansion at its R&D center in Waltham, Mass., outside of Boston. The investment will create space for up to 100 scientists to expand the company's infectious disease program, as well as support ongoing research in oncology.
Construction on the expansion will begin this quarter and is expected to be completed by mid-2009. By then, the facility will house up to 500 employees.
The Waltham site was conceived by the Swedish drug company Astra and opened in 2000 soon after Astra and Zeneca merged. The facility was endowed with the freedom to create its own culture and objectives in the hope that scientists could overcome some of the bottlenecks and bureaucracy that have slowed down drug discovery at big pharmaceutical companies (C&EN, Oct. 9, 2006, page 24).
Since its opening, the site has contributed three cancer agents and two novel antibiotics to the AstraZeneca pipeline. The expansion is primarily geared at ramping up the infectious disease program, an area where few new drugs have been introduced in recent years, the company says.
"Infectious disease is becoming more prevalent and problematic to patients and health care providers, placing a heavy burden on our health care system," says Jan M. Lundberg, AstraZeneca's executive vice president of global discovery research. "With our expanded presence in Boston, our scientists will be better equipped to discover and develop novel medicines to address important areas of unmet need."
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