Novartis to add RTP site that could employ up to 100

Oct. 20, 2013 @ 04:47 PM

Swiss drugmaker Novartis is expanding its presence in the Triangle with a research and development site in the Research Triangle Park that could employ up to 100 people, according to a real estate executive.

The company plans to move in before the end of the year into more than 40,000-square-feet of space at 7030 Kit Creek Road, said Joel Marcus, president and CEO of Alexandria Real Estate Equities.
The real estate investment trust owns and manages the three-building laboratory complex, which is located on the Wake County site of the Research Triangle Park, where Novartis’ office and lab space will be located.
“We’re pleased to bring Novartis into the Triangle,” Marcus said. “Their plans are to grow their headcount there to about 100, focused mostly on their vaccine work, their pipeline.”
Meghan Flanagan, a company spokeswoman, confirmed in an email that Novartis has signed a lease to rent some lab and office space in the park for “process development work” related to the company’s viral pilot plant at its facility in Holly Springs, which is in Wake County.
The facility in Holly Springs is focused on influenza vaccine production. The site uses cell culture-based manufacturing technology, rather than traditional egg-based flu vaccine production, according to company information.
The original groundbreaking for the facility was in 2007. The second addition since the original construction was announced for the site earlier this year.
Initially, the facility was launched through a partnership with U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.
In June of last year, the company got a contract to help develop and make medical “countermeasures” to protect against pandemic flu and other health threats.
Marcus said that he believes Novartis’ presence in the Research Triangle Park could help with the recruitment of other drug companies to the area.
And while he said he believes the area has a manufacturing focus, he believes it can become a research and development “epicenter.”
He said that GlaxoSmithKline’s consolidation on its Moore Drive campus in the Research Triangle Park, vacating other properties in the area, is “a bit of a downer,” but he said he still believes the Triangle is “going to be a great destination.”
He said the Triangle has the four elements needed to be a “great cluster”: location, science, talent, and, increasingly, risk capital.
Novartis International AG, based in Basel, Switzerland, develops medicines, eye care products, generic drugs, vaccines and diagnostics, over-the-counter drugs, and animal health products.
In the first half of the year, the company’s vaccine and diagnostics segment reported an operating loss of $240 million, down from an operating loss of $269 million seen in the same period in the prior year. The segment’s net sales were $738 million, which were up 14 percent year-over-year.