ZURICH—Officials at Glaxo, the British pharmaceutical giant that has agreed to purchase the Geneva research laboratory of Biogen N.Y., have promised that the facility will retain a degree of autonomy as an intemational center of excellence in biotechnology.

John Barr, a spokesman for Glaxo, said that the laboratory will be integrated into the company’s general research program and renamed the Glaxo Institute for Molecular Biology. The new director of research will be Allan Williamson, who previously headed Glaxo’s mammalian research interests in the United Kingdom. Glaxo will assume responsibility for work on the immune modulators interleukin-2 and granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor, both now in clinical trials.

The July 28 announcement of the sale of the Geneva facility was totally unexpected. Officials of Biogen, based in Cambridge, Mass., had been holding discussions for several months with a number of firms in an attempt to stanch losses that topped $20 million last...

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