Roche To Invest $535M, Create 3,500 Jobs At New Swiss IT Site
September 17, 2014
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
Swiss-based Roche said Wednesday that it intends to invest over $535 million on an information technology facility in Kaiseraugst, Switzerland that could employ 3,500 people by 2017.
The plan calls for building four IT building, two service building, and general site upgrades such as parking and infrastructure. “This investment marks a further step in Roche Kaiseraugst’s development into a cornerstone of Roche’s global production and logistics network and its biggest information technology center worldwide,” said Roche executive Juerg Eirsmann in a statement.
Roche generates about $47.6 billion in sales each year.
Roche had also recently made a bid to acquire U.S. biotech company InterMune for $8.3 billion. Several analysts felt this was a signal that the company was going to start on a merger-and-acquisition binge, but Severin Schwann, chief executive of the company, indicated it was an exception.
“A transaction of this size is really an exceptional thing,” he said at the time. “The last one we had was Ventana, which was in 2007, so you might have to wait another seven years until you have a similar type of transaction.”
Roche’s Chief Executive Severin Schwan was recently interviewed concerning the company’s approach to risk, noting that he offers champagne to his researchers at the end of a project, even if it fails.
“We need a culture where people take risks because if you don’t take risks, you won’t have breakthrough innovation,” said Schwan. “So we have a big celebration lunch — and we call it a celebration lunch.”
He noted that in addition to internal research and development efforts, the company studies approximately 1,500 external opportunities annually, some that lead to major acquisitions, though many are smaller.
“You have to take care of the nine guys who worked as hard, had as bright ideas and unfortunately failed, and therefore in this sense you should celebrate failures, nine times more than success,” he said.
Although the company undoubtedly has had its failures, it currently had three blockbuster cancer treatments with a market value of more than $250 billion that generate about $6 billion annually.
Roche was recently recognized by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) as a Group Leader in sustainability within the pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and life sciences industry. In 2009, the company put in place five-year corporate goals and Key Performance Indicators to measure progress. One of those was a diversity objective to increase the percentage of women in key positions by 50 percent. Another was an energy-efficient goals to reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency by 10 percent. Both goals were reached by the end of 2013.