Contract research organizations continue to expand their businesses by buying up big pharma’s unwanted research and manufacturing sites. France’s Oncodesign will acquire GlaxoSmithKline’s François Hyafil Research Centre in Villebon-sur-Yvette, France. GSK will provide 57 employees and about $40 million over four years to support transfer of the site. China’s Pharmaron, meanwhile, will buy a site in Hoddesdon, England, from an arm of Merck & Co. The site includes a research and process development facility for active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and drug formulation. Merck will remain on the Hoddesdon site through a lease on the main office buildings. Earlier this year, U.S.-based Avara Pharmaceutical Services purchased AstraZeneca’s API plant in Avonmouth, England; a UCB API plant in Shannon, Ireland; and an Astellas Pharma formulation and packaging plant in Oklahoma.