Media Release

Basel, 22 October 2014

Roche invests for the future in its Basel site

Investments of 3 billion Swiss francs in modern research infrastructure, attractive workplaces and sustainable site development

Today Roche presented development plans for its Basel site. Over the next 10 years, Roche will invest 3 billion Swiss francs in the construction of a new research and development centre for around 1,900 employees, in a state-of-the-art office building for up to 1,700 employees, in upgrading infrastructure, and in renovating the historic office building designed by Otto R. Salvisberg.

"Roche is committed long-term to Switzerland and to Basel in its dual role as corporate headquarters and one of our most important sites worldwide", said Roche CEO Severin Schwan, explaining the rationale behind the plans. "The entire value chain is represented in Basel. Employees from all parts of the company are making a vital contribution to Roche’s innovative strength, and we want to provide them with an attractive work environment. The new buildings will continue Roche’s tradition of elegant, distinctive and functional architecture.”

Many of the office and laboratory buildings on the site no longer meet present-day requirements for modern, sustainable workplaces and need to be renewed. Furthermore, even after staff move into Building 1 towards the end of 2015, some 3,000 of the around 9,000 employees who work in Basel will still be in rented properties spread around the city. Under the site development plan presented today, which was developed in collaboration with architects Herzog & de Meuron, a large part of the Basel workforce will be brought together in modern laboratories and offices on the main site, which over the years has grown around Grenzacherstrasse.

"The planned consolidation of the existing industrial site will eliminate the need to build over green zones", emphasises Jürg Erismann, Head of the Basel/Kaiseraugst Site. "Instead, Roche will be making more efficient use of those parts of the site that have already been developed but cannot be expanded. Sustainability is a top priority for all our construction projects. For instance, assuming a comparable number of workplaces, the energy used in Building 1 will be only one fifth of the amount consumed in 40-year-old Building 74, which is due to be replaced as part of the site development project."

The planners attached a great deal of importance to safeguarding the quality of neighbouring residents’ living conditions, ensuring for example, that buildings at the site perimeters will all be low-rise. High-rise structures – such as Building 1, which is currently under construction – are to be located in the inner areas of the Roche site on Grenzacherstrasse. Roche’s modern mobility concept, which was developed to encourage the use of public transport and bicycles, will help to keep the number of private motor vehicles to a minimum.

Research centre

The new research centre will comprise four integrated office/laboratory buildings of different heights (132m, 72m, 28m and 16m) on the site of present Building 74. Each of the buildings will be designed in consultation with the research and development organisation to ensure that scientists' needs are fully met. Timetabled to go into service between 2021 and 2022, the new buildings will contain 950 office and 950 laboratory workplaces that meet state-of-the-art requirements. The idea behind the centre is to facilitate communication and further strengthen teamwork among research staff. Scheduled for completion by end-2018, an in vivo research facility is being constructed on the site of Building 61 on Wettsteinallee. It will meet the strictest current standards for experimental animal care. The projected investment volume for the research centre, including the necessary infrastructure, comes to 1.7 billion Swiss francs.

Office high-rise, Building 2

The new office building in the interior of the Roche site will be 205 m tall (approximately 50 storeys) and provide space for up to 1,700 office workplaces. The building will serve to bring together at the Roche site as many as possible of the employees who are presently spread across the city of Basel. Building 2 is expected to be ready for occupation by 2021. The projected investment volume amounts to 550 million Swiss francs.

Infrastructure projects

A total of some 700 million Swiss francs are being invested in upgrading existing buildings and in infrastructure, including a logistics centre that will satisfy the latest standards for energy consumption, safety, Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) guidelines and other requirements. The workshop, fire service, Medical Service and local site organisation will also be housed in the new buildings. The underground car park beneath Building 74 will be replaced by a car park of identical capacity, and 1,500 new underground bicycle parking stands will also be created.

Renovation of the historic Salvisberg Building

Building 21, the office building and architectural showpiece that was designed by Otto R. Salvisberg and constructed in 1937, is to be completely renovated to bring it into line with modern energy efficiency standards and building infrastructure requirements. The renovation work, which is scheduled to begin in early 2016 and last around two years, will preserve the historically important building's appearance. The projected investment volume amounts to 85 million Swiss francs.

About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and neuroscience. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management. Roche’s personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostics that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. Founded in 1896, Roche has been making important contributions to global health for more than a century. Twenty-four medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organisation Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and chemotherapy.

In 2013 the Roche Group employed over 85,000 people worldwide, invested 8.7 billion Swiss francs in R&D and posted sales of 46.8 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information, please visit

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