Southern Marana continues to grow as the international healthcare company Roche plans to double its footprint on Tangerine Road. On Tuesday, June 1, Roche broke ground on a 60,000 square foot facility, directly next to its current facility of the same size. The facility is operated by Roche Tissue Diagnostics, formerly Ventana Medical Systems, which is headquartered in Oro Valley, and is expected to complete construction in mid-2022.
“This further solidifies Roche’s commitment to this area,” said Jill German, head of Roche Tissue Diagnostics. “Last year, cancer patients along with many other types of diseases suffered because getting to a hospital and having testing was very difficult during COVID, and yet we still touched the lives of 27 million patients around the world. And that’s something this site helps us continue to do.”
Roche announced they plan to move some of their manufacturing and employees from their Oro Valley campus to their expanded Marana facility upon completion. This can include moving up to 150 existing employees to the new location, and expanding the employee base at both facilities. In total, Roche employs more than 1,700 workers in the greater Tucson area.
“This project also is a big win for us as a business and for the Tucson metropolitan area as a global community for us,” said Himanshu Parikh, vice president of global operations at Roche Tissue Diagnostics. “It becomes a good community partnership between businesses, because by allowing us to expand and continue to expand in this region, it also helps the community and in general the bioscience community in Southern Arizona.”
Roche Tissue Diagnostics develops more than 250 diagnostic tests and associated instruments for cancer, including specialized stains for tissue samples that allow researchers to detect various biomarkers for cancers.
“With this new expanded facility, our goal is to move some instrument manufacturing production over here, so this becomes a one-stop-shop,” Parikh said. “When we do that, it will allow us to expand our instrument manufacturing footprint in the Oro Valley campus and this is where the major growth of business is taking place. So we can continue to meet the growing demand of business over the years.”
German says that because Roche Tissue Diagnostics works under highly validated processes, the most important thing is that when manufacturing is moved from one location to the next, it continues to work in the same way so agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration can be assured of quality. With this expanded facility, Roche says they will have more lab space to further develop their reagents and devices in the northwest area.
“They work hand-in-hand, you can’t have one without the other,” German said. “The importance of both can’t be understated. We’re really excited that this allows for the continued growth of our business and our ability to serve patients.”
The growing facility is located near the Gladden Farms community in Marana, which has seen many homes built in recent years. Marana mayor Ed Honea remarked on the growth in the area, saying how that section of Tangerine Road is continually developing.
“This is a huge employment base, it’s a tax base, it’s a building that provides a service that helps people all around the world, and that service can be provided in the area,” Honea said. “We’re thrilled we have the infrastructure… If you want to come to our community, provide a clean service, employ people, and nobody complains about you and be a good neighbor, we are absolutely thrilled.”