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Roche headquarters to redefine Basel skyline

Artist's impression of the spectacular landmark for Basel.

(F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd.)

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche is to redevelop its Basel headquarters site and construct the highest office tower block in Switzerland.

The SFr800 million ($640 million) project is scheduled for completion by 2011 and includes two buildings designed by Swiss star architects Herzog & de Meuron.

The 160m building will have more than 40 storeys and will accommodate about 2,400 workplaces together with a new research and development centre which is to replace an old laboratory building, the company said on Thursday.

The aim is to bring employees currently spread around the city to its central site.

"Positive growth, the age of several buildings and the additional demands placed on laboratories, manufacturing facilities and offices compel us to make more compact use of our site and to build higher," said Matthias Baltisberger, head of Roche Basel.

The company added it wanted to maintain its tradition of high-quality and internationally renowned industrial architecture.

Famous architects

Roche said it had created about 1,000 jobs in Basel over the past few years and was confident of continuing its growth strategy in the near future.

It recorded a 37 per cent rise in half-year net income to SFr4.543 billion, boosted by the sales of its cancer drugs.

Roche is Switzerland's second-biggest pharmaceutical company behind its Basel-based rival, Novartis. It has a total workforce of 70,000 people worldwide, including 7,500 in Switzerland.

For its part Novartis has announced plans to invest about SFr2 billion to redevelop its headquarters over the next few years in a bid to double its workforce in Basel to 10,000.

Herzog & de Meuron are among the foremost contemporary Swiss architects. Their recent work includes the Tate Modern in London, the Olympic Stadium in Beijing and the Allianz Arena in Munich as well as Basel's St Jakob Park stadium.

In the mid 1990s they also worked on a project for a research centre for Roche in Basel.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

Roche, which was founded in Basel in 1896, has core businesses in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics.

The group is the number one in the global diagnostics markets and is a leading supplier of medicines for cancer and transplantation.

Cross-city rival Novartis has just under a one-third stake in Roche.

Roche has a global workforce of 70,000 in 150 countries, including 7,500 people in Switzerland.

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