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Roche scraps plans for highest tower

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche says it will not go ahead with plans to redevelop its Basel headquarters site and construct Switzerland's highest office tower block.

The SFr550 million ($450 million) project had been scheduled for completion by 2011 and would have included two buildings designed by Swiss star architects Herzog & de Meuron.

Roche said on Monday that the planned 154-metre-high building, which would have resembled a giant helix, could not fulfil the company's "significant functional requirements".

The 40-storey structure was originally intended to accommodate about 2,400 workplaces together with a new research and development centre, which is to replace an old laboratory building.

Roche said it was now looking at an alternative project that would bring around 1,700 employees currently spread around the city to its central site.