Members Disperse Author: Billy Goodman
The Roche Institute of Molecular Biology (RIMB)-once one of the premier basic research labs in the United States-is about to go dark. Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., the Swiss-owned pharmaceutical giant that chartered RIMB and gave it a great deal of independence, decided a year ago to close the Nutley, N.J.-based institute and move it to Palo Alto, Calif., where the company had just bought Syntex Corp., a small biotechnology firm.
Institute scientists had been expecting change, as Herbert Weissbach, director since 1983, had announced his retirement and a new director was expected to change focus. But lab staff were floored by the announcement that the institute would be closed.
Technically, the institute is to be moved. But its scientists see that as obfuscating what is really happening: They believe they are being fired.
Some have been at the institute...