The Swiss pharmaceutical giant, Novartis, is to create a new global research centre in United States, and to direct all its research efforts from there.
The multinational announced on Monday it was opening the new research facility - the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research (NIBR) - - in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company plans on making an initial investment of $250 million (SFr398 million).
The new centre will oversee all research activities in Europe, the United States and Japan. Around 400 scientists and technicians will work at the Kendall Square facility initially, but the company expects to employ up to 900 people there in the future.
Novartis' research centre in Basel, which has been the multinational's main facility until now, will remain the company's largest R&D site for the time being. Around 1,400 employees work there, and the company expects that number to grow.
"Basel will pursue its development, but our American facility will probably expand faster, " said Felix Räber, a spokesman for Novartis.
The company say it chose Cambridge because of its proximity to major academic institutions. "It will help us attract the best researchers," added Novartis CEO, Daniel Vasella.
The new centre will focus its research on diabetes, as well as cardiovascular and infectious diseases. It will be run by Mark Fishman, professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School and director of cardiovascular research at the Massachusetts General Hospital.
swissinfo with agencies