Controversial laboratory in Chandler to close

CHANDLER, AZ - Drug development services company Covance plans to close a $150 million laboratory it opened in Chandler in 2009 amid protests from animal rights activists.

The Princeton, N.J.-based company said in a May 2 regulatory filing that closing the facility would help it reach a goal of saving $20 million a year in its early development segment.

The company fought off a suit trying to block the 300,000-square-foot facility in 2008. The lab was built so the company could test chemicals and potential drugs on mice, rats, dogs and monkeys.

A few dozen employees worked at the lab when it opened early in 2009, with a long-term goal of nearly 2,000 jobs. The company didn't say in its filing how many workers may lose their jobs when the lab closes.