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Glaxo Wellcome plc announces that it intends to close the Geneva Biomedical Research Institute (GBRI), its biomedical research site in Switzerland, by the end of April 1998.

This follows a review of the Company's global research strategy and a decision to align research activities in centres of disease expertise or technology development at research sites in the UK, USA, Italy, France, Spain and Japan.

Glaxo Wellcome purchased GBRI in 1987 as a way of acquiring world class expertise in the then novel technique of laboratory-based molecular biology. Molecular biology has been progressively integrated into the drug discovery process alongside emerging technologies such as combinatorial chemistry, bio- informatics, genetics and functional genomics.

Glaxo Wellcome will continue to invest in exploratory research linked to disease areas of strategic interest and intends to retain relevant programmes and expertise currently at GBRI. The Company will also continue to invest in cutting edge technologies appropriate for drug discovery and this will be the primary focus and responsibility of Affymax Research Institute in California.

The Company regrets that there will be redundancies amongst the 170 GBRI staff and is committed to providing a full programme of assistance including outplacement, counselling and compensation.

"GBRI has made outstanding contributions to Glaxo Wellcome over the past ten years," said Dr Allan Baxter, Worldwide Research Director for Glaxo Wellcome.

"GBRI set the standard for molecular biology and its applications in research at a time when these techniques were scarce, enabling Glaxo Wellcome to become a world leader in this field. The Institute's impressive publication record, over 400 papers in basic and applied research, and 15 patents in the past five years is testimony to its contribution to science and to Glaxo Wellcome.

"We remain committed to investing in appropriate technologies for drug discovery and we believe that in the future we will derive maximum research productivity where these rapidly evolving technologies are exploited alongside our other discovery activities."

Glaxo Wellcome is a research based pharmaceutical company committed to fighting disease by bringing innovative medicines and services to patients throughout the world.

SOURCE Glaxo Wellcome

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