Drug tester buys Chandler land - East Valley Tribune: Chandler

Drug tester buys Chandler land

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Posted: Wednesday, August 17, 2005 11:44 am | Updated: 7:56 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

A leading global pharmaceutical research company has plans to build a research facility in Chandler, though company officials say they don’t know when the expansion might happen.

But at least one nationwide animalrights group says the company’s in for a fight.

Covance Inc., among the largest drug development companies in the world with $1 billion in revenue last year, recently bought 38 acres near Price and Germann roads in southwest Chandler. Officials of the New Jersey-based company said it’s too soon to say exactly how the land will be used.

The company purchased the land for $8 million along the Price corridor, an area Chandler has designated for major employers and hightech companies.

The company, which employs nearly 7,000 people in 18 countries, conducts clinical testing for drug developers, including testing new types of medicines on animals.

And it’s the animal-testing aspect that is drawing fire from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, a national animal-rights group, along with local activists and residents.

"I don’t want that here," said Jennifer Manago, who has lived in Chandler for eight years.

"If they bring it here, I’ll move," said Linda Rollins, a Chandler resident for 22 years. "What a horrible legacy for Chandler."

Manago and Rollins said they’re not PETA members and have never protested anything in their lives.

But both note the irony that Chandler, a city founded by a veterinarian, could become home to a company that PETA claims abuses its test animals.

PETA officials point to their own "undercover investigation" in which a PETA member working at a Covance facility in Virginia videotaped other employees mistreating test animals.

Covance filed a lawsuit against PETA and the former employee in June charging both with fraud, violating an employment contract, conspiring to harm Covance by illegally infiltrating its research facility and with stealing confidential information.

"The use of animals in scientific research remains absolutely essential to developing safe and effective new medicines and it is required by law," a company-issued statement says.

The property will have to go through a lengthy rezoning process that will include public hearings.

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