Business operations will halt by late 2013, and site will shut down by the end of 2015.

Roche will cease business operations at its Nutley, New Jersey, site by the end of 2013, and will shut down the site by the end of 2015. The move is part of an effort to refocus its pharma global research portfolio and support efficient allocation of resources for the company’s product development pipeline.

Closing the Nutley site will result in a reduction of approximately 1,000 positions. Discovery research activities are to be consolidated in Basel and Schlieren, Switzerland, and Penzberg, Germany. The Roche Group will continue to employ 20,800 individuals in the U.S., including 400 in New Jersey.

Roche will no longer conduct laboratory research on the U.S. East Coast, but intends to identify a location in the region to establish a Translational Clinical Research Center. The firm says the center will support Roche U.S.-based clinical trials and early development programs, support and maintain Roche interactions with the FDA, and enhance Roche’s collaborations with U.S.-based partners, such as academic institutions and biotech companies. The plan is for the center to be operational by early January 2013.

“The decision to close Nutley has been a difficult choice for Roche and is based on multiple factors,” says Tom Lyon, Nutley Site Head. “We currently host three research areas; however, the company has decided to close the Inflammation Discovery and Translational Area (DTA) unit within the Roche R&D organization and consolidate the Oncology and Virology DTAs to other sites where there will be synergies and economies of scale.”

“Nutley’s legacy and footprint as a much larger former regional headquarters and manufacturing site left us with an expensive and oversized infrastructure,” adds Lyon. “While we have made notable progress to cut costs by more than 50 percent in the past two and a half years, it was not enough. As a result of the global consolidation within R&D, which includes eliminating the Inflammation DTA and consolidating Oncology and Virology DTAs to other locations, Nutley will no longer have a critical mass of employees or functions that would allow us to remain a viable part of the Roche organization.”

Nutley has been part of Roche’s history for more than 80 years. At the onset of World War II, the company moved its top management to Nutley. The site contributed to Roche success for many years, including historical achievements such as Valium and benzodiazepines, the co-promotion of Zantac and the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, which spawned interferon. The site also played a key role in the early development of Zelboraf® (vemurafenib) for the treatment of metastatic melanoma.

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