Schering-Plough yesterday said it is to up its investment in biotechnology, with the formation of a new unit to be known as Schering-Plough Biopharma.

The company intends to merge its two West-coast facilities – Canji Inc and Dnax Research Institute – which were acquired in 1996 and 1982 respectively, to create the new biopharmaceuticals venture. After the transaction is complete, a move that is anticipated in the third quarter, these facilities will concentrate their energies on biologics research – particularly monoclonal antibodies and therapeutic proteins – while the company’s East coast units will remain focused on small molecule discovery.

Said Fred Hassan, chairman and chief executive officer, of Schering-Plough: “It is our vision to become one of the top biopharma companies in the world, and this is another important step reflecting our long-term commitment to enhancing our global research capabilities in various therapeutic areas.”