Town Square

Post a New Topic

Roche may leave Palo Alto if it buys Genentech

Original post made on Jul 24, 2008

The Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche will close down its Palo Alto facility, where 1,000 employees currently work, if its offer to acquire biotechnology giant Genentech is successful.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, July 23, 2008, 10:56 AM

Comments (21)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by gm
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 24, 2008 at 9:05 am

Does this mean we need to build less housing since there will be fewer jobs in Palo Alto? If the answer is yes then its no big deal that they are leaving. I'm sure it would be better if they didn't move but I always try and look for the positive in things.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter E. Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 24, 2008 at 10:05 am

Does this mean no solar array?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ken
a resident of Southgate
on Jul 24, 2008 at 1:26 pm

"a campus that has won accolades for its environmental practices -- such as a 95-percent recycling program including everything from laboratory materials to coffee grounds"

Translation: Roche was extorted by Palo Alto to conform to hyper green standards. No wonder they are getting out of town! They are moving to places that are business friendly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by It's $$$
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2008 at 2:10 pm

Ken, you are making things up.
Roche has bigger fish to fry, it has $$$$$ in mind.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter E. Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 24, 2008 at 2:33 pm

Ah, yes, unlike the rest of us noble souls, Roche actually works for money.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ken
a resident of Southgate
on Jul 24, 2008 at 2:45 pm

$$$,

Then why doesn't Roche decide to make its $$$ in Palo Alto, instead of SSF or Nutley?

In the old Syntex days, the corporate development people were extremely upset by the anit-industry attitude of Palo Alto. Nothing has changed, except that it has gotten worse.

Palo Alto is anti-business.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter E. Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 24, 2008 at 2:59 pm

The HP way is dead, too. It's embalmer just might be the VP.

Syntex and the old HP. Dang! Those free donuts were nice.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ken
a resident of Southgate
on Jul 24, 2008 at 3:18 pm

Walter,

The problem was that the free donuts were given to research staff who were required to attend regulatory meetings, endlessly so. These folk got fat on the donuts, but progressively had less time and focus on their projects (to find new drugs). It is one thing when a motivated researcher decides to spend many extra hours at night, trying to work the problem, and quite another when he/she is forced to go back in a night to finish what should have been finished during the regualr work day (but cannot, because the day is fractured by reg meetings). It was a huge hidden tax.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Jul 24, 2008 at 10:36 pm

better yet convert the Roche site to housing for people working in the research park; that will further reduce the traffic in Palo Alto

the Chinese are onto something when they provide on-site housing for workers


 +   Like this comment
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Jul 24, 2008 at 10:52 pm

Facebook used to offer bonuses for living close to work / maybe this could be a live/work site for Facebook


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 24, 2008 at 11:12 pm

Chris,

The Japanese are even more progressive - they provide housing and a high salary for their workers on work visas (singles only), and make sure that they LEAVE after the job is finished.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter E. Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2008 at 2:22 am

"Saint Peter don'tcha call me cause I can't go, I owe my soul to the company store." I lived in a company town with a company store a while ago. When the boss owns your house, he owns you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by roche worker
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2008 at 11:28 pm

I have worked at Syntex and Roche for 30 years. I find most of your comments a joke. Over 1000 hard working people who have been working to create better drugs for society are losing their jobs. I could care less about solar panels or a green campus. Many great individuals who have devoted their lives to Roche and the Palo Alto campus are now out of work. That should be the story here, not the shrubs etc.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by roche worker
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2008 at 11:29 pm

I have worked at Syntex and Roche for 30 years. I find most of your comments a joke. Over 1000 hard working people who have been working to create better drugs for society are losing their jobs. I could care less about solar panels or a green campus. Many great individuals who have devoted their lives to Roche and the Palo Alto campus are now out of work. That should be the story here, not the shrubs etc.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by roche worker
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2008 at 11:29 pm

I have worked at Syntex and Roche for 30 years. I find most of your comments a joke. Over 1000 hard working people who have been working to create better drugs for society are losing their jobs. I could care less about solar panels or a green campus. Many great individuals who have devoted their lives to Roche and the Palo Alto campus are now out of work. That should be the story here, not the shrubs etc.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by roche worker
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2008 at 11:30 pm

I have worked at Syntex and Roche for over 30 years. I find most of your comments a joke. Over 1000 hard working people who have been working to create better drugs for society are losing their jobs. I could care less about solar panels or a green campus. Many great individuals who have devoted their lives to Roche and the Palo Alto campus are now out of work. That should be the story here, not the shrubs etc.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by An insider who knows
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 27, 2008 at 2:58 pm

roche worker,

The big fish (Roche) ate the small fish (Syntex), although Syntex offered itself up. It was not a hostile takeover. Small independent pharaceutical companies, like Syntex, had become a thing of the past, partly due to market conditions and, more importantly, regulatory conditions, both national and local.

The Palo Alto campus lost its focus (searching for new, disease-modifying drugs). Over time, it became more about egoistic outdoor art, witch hunts looking for sexual harassment, homosexual rights, zero-waste, eliminating radioactivity and organic solvents, sponsoring indoor art shows, endless meetings to conform to non-productive regulations, solar/environmental awards, etc. In brief, the PA campus was marinated in PA attitudes.

Roche, in one step, can get rid of the biz-light attitude that dominated the PA campus. Is it any wonder that Roche prefers SSF (the Industrial City) over Palo Alto?

The old Syntex days are over, yet PA officials are still off chasing global warming, world peace, justice-for-all, etc. It won't end, until realists are voted into power in this city. It will take at least a decade of dedicated effort to get over the negative image of Palo Alto as anti-business.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 27, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Do law firms pay our city tax for the fees they charge their clients?



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Always Wondering ..
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 29, 2008 at 8:17 am

> The Palo Alto campus lost its focus (searching for new,
> disease-modifying drugs). Over time, it became more about
> egoistic outdoor art, witch hunts looking for sexual harassment,
> homosexual rights, zero-waste, eliminating radioactivity and
> organic solvents, sponsoring indoor art shows, endless meetings
> to conform to non-productive regulations, solar/environmental
> awards, etc. In brief, the PA campus was marinated in PA attitudes.

Interesting. It's easy to speculate about such trends from the outside, but it's so much nicer to know what's really going on in a place from an insider's point-of-view.

Would be an interesting exercise to try to figure out how many of these trends were driven by the Palo Alto City Government. One such trend, "zero waste" would seem to have a lot of impact on a company like Roche, with so many people.

Any thoughts on why the PA Roche Campus became de-focused on its primary mission?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by An insider who knows
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 29, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Always Wondering,

Internal Syntex/Roche regulators, reacting to PA/state/national pressure, became compliant and seduced to become part of the Palo Alto way. There were a few internal people who resisted, and complained that the company should fight back, but they soon disappeared. It was a gradual thing, but seemingly inexhorable. Top level managers wanted to go along to get along.

In many ways, the Syntex/Roche demise parallels the demise of Palo Alto. This should not be surprising, becasue they were both part of the same mindset.

If I could reduce it to two sentences, I would say:

The regulaotry burden became too much for the mid-level managers to cope with. They needed to focus on the basic mission, but the distractions were too much to overcome.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by outsider
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 29, 2008 at 3:32 pm

I don't know if insider is mike, but the person who really knows what is going on is councilman John Barton. Ask him.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Grab a Bowl of Heaven soon in Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 2,842 views

Don't fund the rape culture at my alma mater
By Jessica T | 35 comments | 2,291 views

Quick Check List for UC Applications
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 0 comments | 1,946 views

Campaign Endorsements: Behind the Curtain
By Douglas Moran | 10 comments | 1,040 views

Mothers, daughters, books, and boxes
By Sally Torbey | 4 comments | 1,034 views