The Congregazione dei Figli dell'Immacolata Concezione (CFIC), a nonprofit group with close links to the Vatican, is to become the proud owner of one of Italy's leading drug research labs.

The lab in Nerviano, close to Milan, is currently owned by drug giant Pfizer, which is shutting down its Italian outfit. A binding contract is going to be signed by the two counterparts on May 15, and Umberto Rosa, currently chief of Sorin Biomedica, will be appointed as the new director.

The pharmaceutical center in Nerviano has 800 employees and international fame in oncology drug research. Scientists there have been worried that they would all lose their jobs, as has happened in other Pfizer centers, and have gained the attention of the country by protesting publicly and setting up road blocks. “We shook up public opinion and became a political case,” staff scientist Marco Tatò told The Scientist....

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