Roche Reshuffles Research | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: February 6, 2007

Roche Reshuffles Research

Swiss drug giant will set up five units focused on disease areas
Department: Business
Credit: ROCHE
Credit: ROCHE

Roche announced this week plans to reorganize its worldwide R&D efforts by establishing five research units called Disease Biology Areas, each focused on a specific therapeutic field. Roche says the new organization is designed to meet the increasingly complex requirements of its drug pipeline.

Each unit will be based in one of three locations, with oncology in Nutley, N.J.; virology and inflammation in Palo Alto, Calif.; and metabolism and central nervous system disorders at Roche's headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. The company says it expects to increase both its R&D staff, now at 6,500 people, and its annual research budget, currently about $4.8 billion, in 2007.

"We are taking the opportunity to refocus at a time of economic strength on the challenges that lie ahead," says William M. Burns, CEO of Roche's pharmaceuticals division. "New structures and flatter hierarchies will enable us to be more aligned and focused, make decisions faster, implement ideas more rapidly, and bring more new products through the pipeline."

??Roche's announcement comes on the heels of a reorganization plan announced by Pfizer that will establish dedicated research groups for specific therapeutic areas (C&EN, Jan. 29, page 7). This R&D strategy was pioneered among the major drug companies by GlaxoSmithKline with its Centers of Excellence for Drug Discovery, which were formed after the merger of Glaxo with SmithKline Beecham in 2001.

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