Novo Boosts Boston R&D Operations, Adds 200+ Jobs with New R&D Site

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Novo Nordisk announced Thursday it plans to expand its research and development operations in the greater Boston area and add more than 200 new jobs this year.

The Danish drugmaker will migrate most of its U.S.-based research work to the new R&D hub as part of the expansion. This means the company will back activities and staffing in other locations.

Novo is cutting 80 jobs in its Seattle site and 20 in Indianapolis but will offer affected employees the opportunity to apply for open positions at other locations.

Novo’s Seattle site will remain functional and continue its work in digital therapy, data science and artificial therapy. The company’s stem cell work will stay in Fremont, California.

After the expansion, Boston will be home to one of Novo’s largest R&D hubs outside of Denmark and will be the company’s “principal R&D location in the U.S.,” according to the announcement.

Of the 200 new roles in Boston, more than 150 employees will be lab-based and work in clinical development in data science, biology or chemistry research and RNA interference. These new jobs will be based in Novo’s existing Lexington, Cambridge and Watertown, Massachusetts sites.

Novo’s expansion in Boston, a significant biotech epicenter with more than 1,000 life science companies and top institutions, will help the company to expand its pipeline into new modalities and develop innovative new medicines for chronic conditions, Marcus Schindler, Ph.D., chief scientific officer, Novo Nordisk, said in a statement.

Thursday’s announcement follows Novo's 2022 decision to convert a 100,000-square-foot space in Lexington into a state-of-the-art lab facility. The company’s RNA interference research activities and oral formulation work will be based in this location.

Novo cemented its presence in the RNA interference space when it bought its partner Dicerna Pharmaceuticals in November 2021 for $3.3 billion. Dicerna brings a platform that allows its candidates to access targets inside the cell, particularly in hepatic and extrahepatic tissues.

Dicerna is also based in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Other Expansions in the Industry

Amid an industry-wide downturn, announcements like Novo’s have grown rare. Still, there are others with plans to expand. 

AstraZeneca announced Tuesday it was expanding R&D operations in Toronto and adding 500 scientific and high-tech jobs. This plan includes the establishment of the Alexion, AstraZeneca Rare Disease Development Hub, a new facility focused on rare disease research.

In June 2022, Regeneron broke ground for its $1.8-billion expansion in Tarrytown, New York, allowing the company to add at least 1,000 new full-time roles. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2027.

One month earlier, Eli Lilly dropped $2.1 billion to broaden its footprint in Indiana with two new manufacturing facilities, boosting its capacity to manufacture active ingredients and genetic medicines. Lilly’s new campuses could create up to 500 new jobs.

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