→ The open plan design has swept through biopharma like a prairie fire, dictating the layout for a whole range of new buildings and biotech offices where researchers and BD types often mix — and not always so well. The new $1 billion Francis Crick Institute in London has earned a lot of praise for its open architecture. But a number of the 1,250 people who work there are clearly not enjoying their new digs, complaining that the background noise and occasional celebratory gatherings are an unnecessary distraction. Others, though, say that it forces them to mingle, and that can be a good thing. Research group leader Nicholas Luscombe told the Guardian: “You keep bumping into people and that has created new collaborations for me.”
→ German generic drugmaker Fresenius Kabi is expanding its manufacturing operations in Wilson County, North Carolina, building upon its current production facility and workforce of more than 100 employees. The project, which brings over $100 million in investment, involves expanding the existing site and constructing a new one — which is expected to add at least 445 jobs in the area. Another sign of the company’s ambitions, the announcement follows the recent news that Fresenius broke ground in Melrose Park, Illinois, just an hour away from the company’s US HQ, for a $250 million expansion of its manufacturing facility. Fresenius has also been active in the M&A arena, having just bought Merck KGaA’s biosimilars business and now in the process of acquiring Akorn.
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