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Roche opens ultra-modern biotechnology production centre in Basel; construction completed in just two years


- More than 170 new jobs
- A clear signal of Roche’s commitment to Basel, Switzerland

At an inauguration ceremony held today, Roche opened its new biotechnology production centre in Basel. The facility will manufacture the breakthrough cancer drug Avastin, which has been shown to consistently deliver improved overall and/or progression-free survival benefit in four types of cancer, by its unique mode of action. Biopharmaceuticals such as Avastin mark a major advance in treatment for many patients, making these novel, complex drugs indispensable in modern medicine.

Basel is a key site for the Group in its strategy to produce biopharmaceuticals for the world market. In July, Roche will inaugurate a second new facility in Penzberg, Germany. These two sites will contribute significantly to the Group with supplies of Avastin and Herceptin for patients with cancer. Their completion in such a timely manner contributes to the Roche Group’s position as a world leader in biotechnology.

“After completing construction in just two years, we can now begin preparing for regulatory approval and launch of commercial production of Avastin from this site” added Matthias M. Baltisberger, Basel Site Head. “Moreover, the need for highly skilled employees to staff the facility has resulted in the creation of over 170 new jobs. The new building is part of a site development scheme that includes consolidating all production facilities on the northern sector of the site”.

The ceremony was attended by Federal Councillor Pascal Couchepin, Basel Cantonal Minister Barbara Schneider, the architects Herzog & de Meuron, the construction companies involved and officials from Roche.

Roche is currently preparing the Basel biotech facility for qualification and certification by the regulatory authorities. Delivery of the first batch of Avastin from Basel is scheduled for 2009. Until the qualification and certification processes are complete, patients will continue to be supplied with Avastin from Genentech’s manufacturing facilities.

A perfect architectural fit
Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the eight-storey building housing the new production facility reflects the importance of architectural style to Roche, established by Otto Salvisberg, and continues a long-standing commitment to responsible site development at Roche. Herzog & de Meuron’s architecture has become a defining feature of the Basel site’s visual identity, marking a new era in a long history of important buildings by distinguished architects, including Otto Salvisberg and Roland Rohn.

Art and architecture
Absolutely Spring, by Swiss artist Maya Vonmoos, reflects another long-standing Roche commitment, to the arts. Commissioned especially for the biotechnology production centre, the work is an ensemble of visually stimulating computer-generated films and digital paintings. Thanks to the facility’s glass facade, the computer-generated films can also be viewed by passers-by and people working in the buildings opposite.


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