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Novartis opens Cambridge, Mass. biomedical research center

BASEL, SWITZERLAND, and CAMBRIDGE, MASS. -- Novartis announced significant elements of its new research strategy with the establishment of the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research, Inc. (NIBRI) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

All worldwide research activities performed in Europe, the US and Japan will be led out of Cambridge by NIBRI's new head, Mark Fishman, M.D., currently Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Chief of Cardiology and Director of Cardiovascular Research at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The new research facility opens with an initial 255 000 square feet of lab, office space and room for 400 scientists and technology experts, and a starting investment of US$250 million.

Novartis is planning to expand the Cambridge site, creating one of the most important research campuses in the world, focusing on the discovery of new drugs for diabetes, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases, using integrated high-throughput technologies.

According to Daniel Vasella, M.D., Chairman and CEO of Novartis AG, "Launching a new research strategy and aligning our research under the leadership of a top scientist will enhance the quality of our science and of our discovery efforts and further our ability to provide innovative drugs for patients around the world. Our establishment of NIBRI in Cambridge, in the midst of one of the world's most impressive pools of scientific talent and academic institutions, will help attract the best researchers and increase research productivity by capitalizing on the vast increase in therapeutic targets stemming from the sequencing of the human genome.
Novartis says Dr. Fishman's work changed the way research is performed in the developmental biology of the cardiovascular system by his introduction of the Zebra fish as a new model organism, particularly well suited to gene discovery for heart and vessel development. These findings have important implications for understanding new genes and pathways and the progression of human disease. Dr. Fishman will also serve as a member of Novartis' Executive Committee.
Welcoming Novartis to the "biotechnology state," Senator Edward Kennedy said, "Novartis will be a significant new resource for the city of Cambridge, and for all the people of Massachusetts. Novartis' strong desire to be in Cambridge further strengthens Kendall Square as being the epicenter of the biotech world."

SOURCE Novartis
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Posted: May 2002

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