Novartis Pharma AG Moves Into Old Necco Candy Factory; Sugar Will Again Be Crucial

When the Swiss biotech firm Novartis Pharma AG announced that they'd be moving into the old Necco candy factory in Cambridge, there was a sticky problem: how to get 75 years worth of sugar residue off the walls. Chemists and biologists, after all, need a spiffy and sterile work environment -- one that doesn't exude the powdery-sweet aroma of Necco wafers. But once the last molecule of sugar has been scrubbed from the walls and scientists begin moving in later this year to what will be known as the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, don't be surprised if a handful of the 700 researchers wind up working with . . . sugar molecules. Glycomics, the study of sugars and how they function in living organisms, is a pocket of intense activity within the biotech field.

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