Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Reflections on seeing a picture of an empty lab

Tom Stanton of the real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle shows off empty lab space at Roche in Nutley, N.J.
Credit: WYNC
NPR has an story today about the old Roche facility in Nutley, New Jersey. I find this picture incredibly sad for its emptiness. There are no reagents on the shelves, no dishes on the rack, no clutter on the bench top nor reactions in the hoods. 

Someone once said that Spielberg used flashlights to tell you "something is not quite right here"; when I look at that real estate guy in that lab without lab glasses on, I have that same feeling. 

Of course, something isn't right there -- what was once probably a bustling laboratory is now empty, what might have been filled with laughter, or swearing or hopeful science isn't anymore. 

Here's hoping that some enterprising souls will purchase that lab and do some good with it. Best wishes to them, and to all of us. 

13 comments:

  1. Also, this: http://chemjobber.blogspot.com/2012/05/ozymandias-senior-med-chemist.html

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  2. Looks like a lab the safety officer in our department would approve of.

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  3. CJ: Who is this fella overseeing this process? Seems like his job is well secured.?

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  4. As one of the few survivors at a previously bustling biotech, I had to decommission the labs after the company went "virtual". Very depressing- I couldn't even walk past the labs post-closure- too upsetting.

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  5. It is more than just clean and empty - it looks exactly like brand-new lab benches from VWR that just got assembled and have never been used for anything research-related.

    It has been my experience that long-planed expansion that involves moving into wonderful new buildings is soon followed by research projects "realignment" followed by layoffs. When the top management starts building monumental (but totally dysfunctional) buildings complete with an imposing lobby, gourmet cafeteria, spire and balcony overlooking a lake, it is a sure sign the time is night....

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    1. This worries me, because we are soon to move into our new imposing scienc-y building that has a large atrium, and fancy cafeterias, a viewing deck, etc....

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    2. Novartis? Pfizer? Good luck.

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    3. @milkshake, Anon1249, Anon310, and Chemjobber

      Can I get your opinions? Just want to make sure that I'm not being too cynical...

      Given what's happened to Roche-Nutley, I find these propaganda videos to be somewhat distasteful/nauseating:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cz-lazt_kgw

      Notice what are the predominant demographics of those anticipated to inhabit that edifice in Basel...

      "Doing now what investors--oops, make that patients...yeah that's right, patients--need next."

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    4. For whatever it's worth, "Dr Unemployment" has left a comment beneath the Roche video.

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    5. Why are there so many people on their phones in those renderings? Also, where are the labs? That rooftop nightclub does look sweet, though.

      Funny excerpt from video description:
      "Open communication zones on all office levels, extending up to three floors or more, are conducive to open exchanges among employees."

      Hmm...shouting at someone in a three-storey atrium. That seems so classy and European.

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  6. My last job was at a drug delivery startup... I was the 7th employee and I was there for almost 14 years... I built my lab and department from start, from buying the equipment to laying out the lab etc etc...

    When the FDA wanted another clinical trial after we submitted the NDA, and we did not have the money I had oversee the dismantling of the lab and the packing up all the equipment for sale...

    Besides knowing I was getting laid off, I had to dismantle all I built and put a lot of myself into. That was really hard and sad for me.

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    1. Hi anon, this is actually pretty interesting - I would like to get in touch with you. I am at a drug delivery startup in Florida, been with the for the past 3 years. So this was your last job? Please can you write me an e-mail - or maybe write a comment at OrgPrepDaily? (Under any post would do). Thank you.

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  7. That photo looks like it came from Don Henley's unreleased (non-existent) music video "The Boys of Pharma".

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