New Labs Worldwide

The construction of new laboratories is growing in Asia, driven by government funding (see page 7) and manufacturing and R&D investment from the West. China’s Ministry of Science and Technology alone has approved the construction of 27 “national key laboratories” this year. China’s Ministry of Commerce reported this month that over 1,000 R&D centers have been established in the country by foreign companies. Coca-Cola has announced it will build its sixth R&D laboratory in Shanghai’s Zizu Industrial Park as part of an $80 million Chinese investment, quadrupling its number of Chinese-based R&D personnel to 200. Doug Jackson, president of Coca-Cola China, told China Daily that China is on track to become the company’s second largest market in five years. German chemicals maker Degussa last month finished a $29 million addition to its Shanghai R&D Center, enlarging it to 269,000 square feet. Degussa has set a goal of €800 million ($1.1 billion) in Chinese sales by 2009. As in China, laboratory construction in India is being spurred by both foreign and domestic investments. Earlier this year, the Indian government announced an ambitious plan to increase the country’s food production and trade. By 2015, the country aims to double its share in the world’s produce market to 3% and to increase its production of processed perishable food from 6% to 20%, according to the website of the Indian Brand Equity Foundation. The plan includes public and private investment in 30 “food parks,” which would provide R&D and processing facilities. The Hindu Business Line reports that the Indian government has allocated funding for Hyderabad’s Institute for Translational Research, which is expected to open in 2011 with space for 500 researchers. The country’s Revised National Tuberculosis Control Plan calls for the establishment of an intermediate reference laboratory in each of India’s 28 states by 2010. Foreign companies declaring their interest in the country include Shell Oil. The Hindu Business Line website reported that Shell plans to set up an R&D facility in Bangalore with a staff of 500 that will increase to one thousand in three years. The facility will be the company’s third center of excellence. The website also reported that Dow Chemicals plans to relocate 50% of its R&D to India within five years, specifically to its operations in Pune, Chennai and Mumbai. Earlier this year, Johnson & Johnson unveiled a $17.5 million renovation of its Analytical and Pharmaceutical Development Center in Mumbai, which has a staff of 65. The company is building a new R&D facility at the same location (see table). A Johnson & Johnson spokesperson told The Telegraph newspaper that the company plans to employ 600 people for R&D in the country. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, India’s foreign direct investment (FDI), which reached $17.5 billion last year, would total $20.4 billion annually until 2011. For the same time period, China’s FDI is forecasted to be $86.6 billion per year, up from $78.1 billion last year. Despite increased investments in the East and a dearth of new products, pharmaceutical companies have announced several laboratory openings in the US and Europe this year. Boehringer Ingleheim this month opened a three-story, 86,000 square foot, $30 million facility in Connecticut that consolidates selected R&D labs. The company is also constructing a new facility at the same location (see table). Pfizer is undertaking a $50 million expansion of its Chesterfield, Missouri, R&D location. Also, Wyeth has announced plans to invest $32 million to add a 65,000 square foot R&D and process development facility to its Grange Castle biopharmaceutical campus in Dublin, Ireland. In the US, aging lab infrastructure on college campuses has prompted the construction of new laboratories. The University of California at Berkeley has just opened the new Stanley Hall. The 285,000 square foot 11-floor, $162.3 million facility replaces the former facility. It has 33 wet labs and dedicated space for a 900 MHz NMR spectrometer. It houses the Biomolecular Nanotechnology Center and the Vincent Coates Functional Genomics Center. In 2008, the campus is scheduled to begin construction of the five-story Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences to replace Warren Hall. Both buildings have been designed to encourage interdisciplinary research. Rockefeller University (see table) and Nova Southeastern University have also begun construction on new science centers emphasizing interdisciplinary collaborations through open environments. Scheduled to open in 2009, Nova Southeastern’s $70 million, 208,000 square foot Center for Collaborative Research will hold the Rumbaugh-Goodwin Institute for Cancer Research, as well as space for medical, pharmaceutical, dental and oceanographic researchers. This month, UCLA dedicated its Biomedical Science Research Building and Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center. Together, the structures measure 230,000 square feet and can accomodate 450 personnel. The building’s occupants include the UCLA Aids Institute and the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research.

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