New Labs: Construction of Facilities for Translational Cancer Research

IBO’s fall 2016 edition of its new lab summary presents labs under construction at academic, government and pharmaceutical sites in the accompanying table. In this article, we also focus on new cancer research and treatment investments, as well as new food and biopharmaceutical R&D labs.



Among the new academic buildings listed in the table above is the Oregon Health & Science University’s Knight Cancer Center. The Center will provide a centralized space for labs previously located at separate sites, with the goal of facilitating collaborative research. The Center is the result of the Knight Cancer Challenge, which reached its $1 billion fundraising goal in June 2015. The building will house the new Center for Early Detection Research, which is expected to recruit 20­–30 scientists, according to The Oregonian.

Another cancer research center breaking ground earlier this year is a new building for the Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute at the Pelham Medical Center in Greer, South Carolina. Construction started in May on the 198,000 ft2 (18,395 m2) facility. The building will hold resources for clinical research and outpatient care. According to, the site will consist of a $65 million, seven-story facility, which is expected to open in mid-2018.

Improved cancer research and patient care is also the goal of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF)’s planned Precision Cancer Medicine Building, which will be located at the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay in San Francisco, California. The Building will house new patient treatment services as well as bring together two previously separate solid-tumor treatment sites. Construction is expected to begin on the six-story, 170,000 ft2 (15,794 m2) building in 2017, with the opening scheduled for 2019. Patient care will include genetic testing, the Cancer Immunotherapy Program and radiation.

Translational research and patient care for cancer are also the focus of the new $35.5 million, 75,000 ft2 (6,968 m2) expansion of the Hormel Institute at the University of Minnesota in Austin, Minnesota. Opened in June, the new space doubles the size of the Institute, and makes space for 120 new faculty and staff. The expansion includes 20 labs, according to The Post-Bulletin.

Nearing completion is the nonprofit Baptist Health Care organization’s $30 million, 305,000 ft2 (28,335 m2) Miami Cancer Institute, according to Miami Today. The Institute encompasses patient care services as well as a 140,000 ft2 (13,006 m2) research complex for clinical trials. Earlier this year, Baptist Health announced an alliance between the Institute and Memorial Sloan Kettering.


An academic and government partnership is responsible for the Quadrum Institute, currently under construction at the Norwich Research Park in the UK. The Institute will house researchers from the Institute of Food Research (IFR), the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH)’s gastrointestinal endoscopy unit, the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Norwich Medical School. Government support is provided by the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Scheduled to open in 2018, the 149,618 ft2 (13,900 m2) facility is expected to accommodate 300 scientists conducting basic and translational research, as well as clinical studies for the microbiome, aging, food innovation and food safety. Construction began in April. According to the UEA, the Institute will cost £81.6 million ($116.6 million = £0.70 = $1).

Among the private companies stepping up investment in food research is snack giant Mondelēz. In June, the company broke ground on a $15 million Research, Development & Quality (RDQ) facility in Wroclaw, Poland for chocolate and biscuits. Expected to open in early 2017, the R&D facility will house 250 employees, as well as labs, a pilot plant and a “collaboration kitchen.” Such spending is set to continue, as this month the company announced a $65 million investment in its RDQ network, citing nine labs, including the Polish lab, which will receive funding. The other facilities are located in the US, the UK (two sites), India, China, Singapore and Brazil. Construction of the Jurong, Singapore, and Thane, India facilities is set to begin this year. The Singapore Business Review reports that the Jurong facility will open in early 2017, while the Indian site will open in 2018. The Straits Times reports that the Jurong site will be the $10 million Centre of Excellence for Gum and Candy. According to the website, the Indian site will focus on chocolate and the upgraded Chinese site will be dedicated to biscuits. The Indian facility will cost $15 million and house 150 employees, according to The Economic Times.

Last month, Nestlé opened a $31 million expansion of its Nestlé Quality Assurance Center in Dublin, Ohio, its largest such facility. The company stated that the new 82,000 ft2 (7,618 m2) lab is nearly double the size of the previous space and includes a 32,000 ft2 (2,973 m2) microbiology lab as well as a renovated chemistry lab. Over 220 employees work at the facility. The Columbus Dispatch reported that the expansion resulted in 70 new jobs. One million tests are expected to be completed annually at the facility.

This month, independent testing firm Eurofins announced the opening of a 5,996 ft2 (557 m2) microbiology food testing site in Singapore, which offers general microbiology as well as pathogen analysis for the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia. Another independent testing lab expanding its food microbiology testing capabilities is Northland Laboratories. It announced in September the construction of a 33,000 ft2 (3,066 m2) lab in the US, in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, for microbiology, chemistry and sensory testing. The new lab is expected to open in early 2017. The company recently completed an expansion of its Green Bay, Wisconsin, facility, including increased proficiency testing services.


Independent testing firm SGS announced this month the opening of its Center of Excellence for Extractable Studies and Impurities Profiling in Taunusstein, Germany. The 5,382 ft2 (500 m2) site replaces and expands a nearby facility, and includes increased staffing and new instruments to meet growing demand. Elsewhere in Europe, UK-based Proton Biopharma broke ground in June on a 5,705 ft2 (530 m2) pharmaceutical development building, which will replace older facilities. Among the operations housed at the new site will be fermentation and downstream processing.

A major biopharmaceutical facility opened earlier this year in the US. In May, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies announced the opening of its BioProcess Innovation Center, a three-story, 62,000 ft2 (5,760 m2) research facility located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The Center is home to Process and Analytical R&D, Process Sciences and Stability groups.

Another major biopharmaceutical firm to announce a lab opening was Eli Lilly and Company’s Elanco Animal Health business, which in June opened its Vaccines Innovation Center in Greenfield, Indiana. The Center will conduct research for animal health, including immunology, molecular biology and microbiology R&D. Among the projects is research to develop alternatives to animal antibiotics.

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