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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Novartis To Expand Disease Unit

Reprint from the San Francisco Business Times:

Novartis moving infectious disease unit from Massachusetts to Emeryville

Date: Monday, December 20, 2010, 1:03pm PST - Last Modified: Monday, December 20, 2010, 1:36pm PST


Health Care
UCSF's Don Ganem will build Novartis' infectious disease unit in Emeryville.

    Drug maker Novartis will shift the headquarters of its infectious diseases unit from Cambridge, Mass., to Emeryville.
    It is unclear how many jobs will move from the East Coast because of the decision or how many people will need to be hired in the Bay Area.
    The Swiss company also said it has hired University of California, San Francisco, professor Dr. Don Ganem as vice president and global head of infectious disease research for the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research.
    The institute is the pharmaceutical research organization for Novartis.
    Novartis employs about 120 people in the infectious diseases unit in Cambridge, said spokesman Jeff Lockwood. It is unclear how many of those positions will move to Emeryville — or when they could move — or how large the Bay Area operation eventually could be.
    “There will be (an infectious diseases) group that is grown there,” Lockwood said.
    Novartis has based its vaccines and diagnostics business in Emeryville and performs some cancer research there as well, but it has no employees dedicated to infectious diseases in the Bay Area.
    “It was an opportunity to grow in an area where we had some capacity, and there’s a strong talent base in infectious disease research,” Lockwood said.
    Ganem’s hiring, effective the beginning of the year, “added some sense to (the shift from Cambridge) as well,” Lockwood said.
    Ganem’s lab at UCSF looks at the molecular mechanisms of the replication of human viral pathogens and the biology and pathogenesis of their resulting diseases. It has worked on Kaposi’s sarcoma, a cancer found largely in AIDS patients, and its causative herpesvirus, KSHV.
    A UCSF team led by Ganem and Joseph DeRisi helped identify a virus, called avian bornavirus, that had killed parrots and exotic birds for more than 30 years. The team also develped a diagnostic test for the virus.

    Read more: 
    Novartis moving infectious disease unit from Massachusetts to Emeryville | San Francisco Business Times 


    1. These will no doubt be middle class jobs moving here. It's likely there will be many families that make the move from Massachusetts with this expansion. It's unfortunate that they will most likely move to Oakland or Berkeley since Emeryville won't provide housing for families.

      Yet another lost opportunity for Emeryville due to bad public policy I'm sorry to say.

    2. I live in England and I have the opportunity to take one of these positions. Obviously this means upping sticks and moving my family to CA. I would be grateful if people could post honest replies as to whether or not I should accept a position….