Novartis doubles Boston expansion to $600M

Already beefing up operations in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Novartis now plans to double the size of that expansion to $600 million. The new office and lab complex will also get an extra 200 to 300 employees over the next five years, the Boston Globe reports. The Swiss drugmaker is aiming to work more closely with Boston-area universities and with start-up companies in the city's notable biotech community.

Novartis already maintains a global research headquarters in Cambridge. But the company, like other Big Pharma firms, is overhauling its R&D operations in an effort to bolster its pipeline. Given the critical mass of scientific and research expertise in the Boston area, Novartis isn't alone in expanding there, either. Sanofi-Aventis plans a new cancer division in the area, and recently announced a research collaboration with Harvard University.

Novartis is also investing in other R&D sites around the world, notably in China, where the drugmaker plans to spend $1 billion on research facilities. Plans to build an R&D center in India, however, are on indefinite hold because Novartis is dissatisfied with intellectual-property protections there.

- see the story in the Globe