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Fast-growing Gilead Sciences blueprints expansion, new R&D hires

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With its stellar hep C program in the spotlight, Gilead Sciences is expanding its R&D efforts with plans to build on to its research operations in Canada and hire dozens of new scientists. Gilead ($GILD) has snagged 10 acres in an Edmonton biotech park and has blueprinted a 45,000-square-foot facility to house another 80 researchers working on process chemistry and analytical development of new drug substances. 

Gilead already employs a research group of about 220 in Edmonton and is currently staffing up on 50 other positions. The Graham Group will manage the development of the 10-acre site and lead construction of the new building, with work expected to get under way in early 2013.

Gilead's R&D budget is over the $1 billion mark, funded in large part with its successful HIV drugs. The research effort has funded a successful program for the HIV blockbuster Quad as well as Truvada. And its move into the hep C spotlight with the $11 billion buyout of Pharmasset has significantly boosted its pipeline efforts.

"Gilead has had a long-standing presence in the Alberta biopharmaceutical community and we are committed to continued innovation at this site," said Gilead R&D chief Norbert Bischofberger in a statement. "At a time when Gilead's R&D pipeline is growing and expanding into new therapeutic areas, we believe this planned facility will enable our process and analytical chemistry teams in Alberta to make an even greater contribution in the development of new therapies for patients."

- here's the press release

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