Merck & Co. will close its Mission Bay research center, eliminating 50 jobs and moving another 10 positions to other facilities.
Merck (NYSE: MRK) was the first large life sciences companies to move into San Francisco’s biotech enclave as it bought Sirna Therapeutics in late 2006 for $1.1 billion. Merck planned to double its Sirna unit’s footprint in Mission Bay, and its space reached as much as 66,000 square feet at Alexandria Real Estate Equities ’ 1700 Owens St.
But those growth plans were never fulfilled, Likewise, RNA interference technology, which essentially turns off genes that lead to disease, has yet to take off as hyped. Still, Merck spokesman Ian McConnell said Friday that the company continues to invest significantly in RNAi technology.