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Drug Industry History

Most Picturesque Biopharma Location?

I’m sitting in my conference, listening to a guy from Emerald Biostructures, the former deCODE. They’re in a site out on Bainbridge Island near Seattle – I’ve talked with several people from out there, and they all talk about riding the ferry out in the morning, etc. Now, Cambridge is OK, but it ain’t Bainbridge Island as far as scenery goes. (However, as someone who used to life and work in northern NJ, I have to be happy with what I have!)
So here’s my question: what’s the most scenic, envy-inducing location for a biopharma research site? For these purposes, we’ll rank by natural beauty – if there’s some biotech that’s leasing the top floors of the Chrysler Building, and I sure don’t think that there is, we’ll take them up as a separate category. Nominations?

53 comments on “Most Picturesque Biopharma Location?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    San Diego. Seriously, just about everywhere in town is awesome, but take TSRI as the representative example if you like.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Though not a biotech, the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla has an impressive setting and view of the Pacific, not to mention Torrey Pines Golf Course.

  3. cklibrary says:

    I don’t know if they qualify as biotech, but JAX Labs in Bar Harbor would top my list.

  4. SMJ says:

    I have San Diego beat. At a conference I met a medicinal chemist that works at a company in Sienna, Italy. That is in Tuscany! Every once in a while I go peruse their job openings. Sigh!

  5. TexUte says:

    University of Utah Research Park, in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains overlooking the Salt Lake Valley, is very nice.

  6. Eraser says:

    Well Lonza’s main site in Visp Switzerland is bang in the middle of the alps. It doesn’t get more picturesque than that I think.

  7. In Vivo Veritas says:

    BMS Hopewell! We have cows!

  8. David P says:

    Not a biopharma, but my lab as a grad student at University of St. Andrews overlooked the sea as well as the Old Course and Royal & Ancient clubhouse. Being on the east coast of Scotland, it was often clear and beautiful and (given the winds blowing off the sea) best viewed from a 4th floor lab with expansive windows.

  9. bbooooooya says:

    Not strcitly biotech company, but Paramount Biosciences (Cougar, KERX, CHT) has office space, with a fantastic view of central park and the Hudson Vally, on abt flr 50 of a bldg on 7th ave near 52 in NYC. Carnegie Deli down the road does not hurt, aside from heart.

  10. LMH says:

    To #8: you must be on some other east coast of Scotland where it is “often clear and beautiful.” On my east coast of Scotland all it ever does is piss with rain. Send me a postcard!

  11. nitrosonium says:

    RTP, obviously

  12. anon the II says:

    A number of years ago, I lead a technology transfer program from our company to Chugai Pharmaceutical. We visited Chugai on a number of occasions. They had a location on Nancy Drive in the San Diego area without a memorable view. But the main research labs were in Gotemba, Japan, which is just about right at the foot of Mt. Fuji. The view there was pretty darn spectacular. Nobody did any work, they just stared out the windows all day. Just kidding, the people on the side away from Mt. Fuji did some work.

  13. Anonymous says:

    LANL’s biotech research is still somewhat limited, but the local scenery is unexcelled. Living on an isolated mountain plateau in the wilds of northern New Mexico might be tough on folks used to larger cities, though.

  14. You're Pfizered says:

    Array BioPharma’s Boulder site has a very nice view of the Flatirons.

  15. OrgMed says:

    Park City, Utah.

  16. Anon says:

    Anywhere near a hooters

  17. Chemjobber says:

    Having not seen very many other places, I’m not sure that I can really comment. That being said, the biotech campuses around TSRI have a really, really nice view of the mesa and the beach area.
    If you’re stuck (?) in Sorrento Valley, though, it’s just warehouses and sagebrush for you!

  18. Aspirin says:

    Merck overlooks the charming, grimy, industrial town of Rahway.

  19. Anne Onn says:

    The Novartis vaccines site in Siena takes some beating – the Tuscan countryside, what’s not to love>

  20. Cialisize Me says:

    Seattle, WA. Several locations:
    1. Downtown/First Hill– Views of Mt Rainier and the harbor with easy mass transit access. Plus vibrant urban scene.
    2. South Lake Union. Shores of Lake Union with floatplanes in and out. Plus you can access the 1 mile long toy streetcar (some profanely call it the SLUT-South Lake Union Trolley)
    3. Bothell–Well, not so much, but there *are* a lot of trees and a salmon stream, and, well, Canyons Restaurant 8^)

  21. okemist says:

    It’s not Harrisonville, MO. But two years right across the street from Torrey Pines public golf course didn’t stink! I was poor, but I could golf for $8.00, and my wife would meet me with a picnic dinner and we’d go a mile down the road to the state beach and watch the sunset with the hot air baloons overhead. San Diego will be hard to beat. The only problem was the weather never changed.

  22. pEvans says:

    Another not strictly biotech, but OceanIT has research locations around the Hawaiian islands–not too shabby.
    I work in Seattle, and from my office and various labs I see Mt Rainier, the Olympic range, the ferries crossing to Bainbridge that Derek mentioned, floatplanes landing on Lake Union, etc. I never tire of the views (especially since I can also see my neighborhood across the bay & my family’s favorite parks and beaches).

  23. bbooooooya says:

    “San Diego will be hard to beat. The only problem was the weather never changed”
    True, but when almost every day is perfect, maybe that’s not the worst

  24. Anonymous says:

    we’d go a mile down the road to the state beach and watch the sunset with the hot air baloons overhead
    And also watch the nudies down on the beach?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Genentech, South San Francisco.

  26. Virgil says:

    The Buck Institute in Novato CA takes a bit of beating for a research site… IM Pei designed building in a beautiful location.

  27. coprolite says:

    My view is Fenway Park, so I’m a little biased, but I’ve always liked New England Biolabs in Ipswich (or Wenham?) Mass., and Woods Hole has a special place in my heart, but I can’t swear any of those is close to a Hooters….

  28. MoMo says:

    Yo Coprolite! You overlook Fenway Park too? We must be in the same building.

  29. Mark says:

    Believe it or not, but Pfizer’s site in Groton, right where the Thames runs into Long Island Sound is actually very pretty in the summer.

  30. Cole says:

    Boulder, CO

  31. Wavefunction says:

    Technically not a biopharma company, but the two Schrodinger offices in Portland and Cambridge have gorgeous views; across the river in Portland and all of old Boston across the Charles in Cambridge.

  32. Doug says:

    Debiopharm headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. The picture on their homepage is what you see out of their office every day (the Swiss Alps and Lake Geneva)

  33. drug_hunter says:

    The prettier the location, the less work gets done.
    (Sorry, I’m old school.) By that definition, Rahway is surely the best possible location for a drug company. Garden State Brickface & Stucco on Route 1 — and the jail — heavenly.
    But I would love to work in the swiss alps or tuscany…

  34. Handles says:

    Maybridge used to have a recruitment ad on their website featuring a gorgeous shot of Tintagel Head and the legend “would you like to work here?”.

  35. partial agonist says:

    Bozeman Montana has a few tiny biotechs. If they are near Montans St. U., it’s pretty scenic

  36. Cyrus the Great! says:

    It has to be Genentech!
    Over looking the Bay… inspiring to discover a new drug! (on this survey I guess most people missed this point!)

  37. Ted says:

    Please also rank the UGLIEST SITES (its like looking for active compounds but also the inactive ones, in order to build a good SAR). To start with, AstraZeneca Charnwood…

  38. A Nonny Mouse says:

    I would have thought that any place with jobs was the best place nowadays……..
    Also, Maybridge is disgusting, set in an old slate quarry.

  39. Mark says:

    Syntex/Roche in Palo Alto was a beautiful campus, great weather (almost as good as San Diego) and many amenities

  40. Petros says:

    In the UK many sites used to be in old country houses:
    Stoke Court (Miles/Bayer/Argenta/Pulmagen) where Thomas Gray wrote his Elegy in a Country Churchyard
    The Frythe (SK&F) where H1 antagonists were developed, and plagued by peacocks.
    Brockham Park (Beecham), where Amoxicillin and augmentin were devised.
    Erl Wood Manor (Lilly)
    Alderly Edge (ICI/AZ) where beta blockers were developed.

  41. JB says:

    Actually, the Broad rents the offices on the top floor of 5 Cambridge Center (above Google) in Kendall square, so that has a pretty good view of the river and Boston skyline, especially for 4th of July.

  42. dearieme says:

    Not biotech, but I several times enjoyed the trip across the water at Amsterdam to the Shell labs.

  43. Chris P says:

    I will second the University Research Park in Salt Lake City, Utah (SL UT if you want to be saucy). It has four seasons [not just wet & dry like Roche Palo Alto], is adjacent to a botanical garden and concert venue (Red Butte Garden), and has a bike/hiking trail just up the hill. Sitting up on the hill, you can see the storms come over the Oquirrh Mountains before they crash up against the mountains to the south.

  44. Cloud says:

    I was sort of amused by all the nominations for my location (San Diego, up on the Torrey Mesa near the golf course). Sure, it is nice, but I guess I’m used to it and I didn’t even think of nominating San Diego when I read the original post.
    But then, as I drove from work to pick up my kids at day care yesterday, I saw two dolphins playing in the waves off Torrey Pines State Beach.
    So yeah, I guess you’re right. It IS pretty nice here.

  45. Anonymous says:

    @37: Totally disagree with the disparaging words about AZ Charnwood. The view north from the PR&D building is over a well-travelled canal and the rolling countryside beyond. I certainly enjoyed it.

  46. hibob says:

    #1, #2: TSRI: you forgot to mention the view of the hang gliders lazing around over the cliff above the Pacific … the floor to ceiling windows in the library don’t exactly encourage concentration on whatever it is you’re reading.
    SIO and Salk have better looking buildings from the outside than TSRI, but I think you have to be a bit masochistic to appreciate some of the brutalist interiors at Salk.

  47. starless says:

    Anywhere in Abkhazia, but you definitely need to build and change too much in this region to make this idea real.

  48. leftscienceawhileago says:

    Is Paramount still around? Can’t find any trace of them on the web. The websites devoted to the founder come across as a little dubious as well…

  49. Anon says:

    Anywhere except New Jersey.

  50. marmot says:

    #14 and #30 are bang on–Boulder, CO has spectacular scenery and great restaurants–lots to do there. If mountains are your thing, Boulder is the place.

  51. Anonymous BMS Researcher says:

    In Vivo Veritas on October 12, 2010 9:41 AM wrote…
    > BMS Hopewell! We have cows!
    I’m at the BMS Wallingford site and have visited the Hopewell site many times — there are indeed cattle grazing on part of the site. From time to time we all get an email message, “please stay away from those cattle, ESPECIALLY if you have recently been to a place where foot and mouth disease is common, we really do not want to be the vector.”

  52. glinkst says:

    Not exactly biotech, but Pfizer Animal Health in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Don’t laugh, it is great if you like lots of water (sailing, windsurfing, fishing), quiet winter sports (x-country ski), and very cheap houses (courtesy of Pfizer).

  53. Anonymous says:

    Pomezia, where Merck&Co had a beautiful site: 20 min south of Rome, 15 min from the sea, 1.5 h from skiing and 20 min from beautiful hills. The labs are still there…

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