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SUMMIT, NJ-Schering-Plough is set to start construction for a major expansion of its existing campus here, a $60-million project that will add a three-story, 200,000-sf building to the site. Work on the first phase of the expansion actually began in July, involving a 1,350-car parking garage. The next phase will be the research building itself, dubbed the Schering-Plough Research Institute. Delivery is slated for late 2009.

“Our ability to innovate and make progress in developing new drugs is of paramount importance to our future,” says Thomas Koestler, EVP of the Kenilworth, NJ-based Schering-Plough and president of SPRI. “Our long-term investments in science and technology have led to a strong early pipeline, and this new facility will increase our ability to complete more clinical trials and bring more medicines to patients.”

And Schering-Plough officials say they have hired Skanska USA Building of Parsippany, a division of Sweden’s Skanska, to construct the facility. Skanska officials declined to comment, but a Schering-Plough spokesman confirms that the contractor is on the job. Skanska USA Building has already completed four smaller projects for Schering-Plough in the past few years.

Located at 556 Morris Ave., the site is part of a campus Schering-Plough acquired from pharma rival Novartis in 2000. More than 1,800 Schering-Plough staffers are already at work at the property’s existing building stock, and the new building is expected to bump total on-site employment to about 3,000 by the end of 2009, according to the spokesman.

The new SPRI facility “will support drug development in the stage between discovery and commercialization,” the spokesman says. “There, tablets, capsules, liquids and inhalation products for clinical trials will be prepared and the technology will be developed for transfer to commercial production facilities.”

The building itself will be a combination of uses, including a pilot plant for production of medicines for clinical trials. Also part of the facility will be a warehousing section and administrative offices.

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