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The end of a once-controversial era has finally arrived for the Salk Institute's Biologicals Development Center in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania. The 20-year-old lab, which at its peak in the early 1990s employed a staff of 110 to study and develop vaccines for the U.S. Army, came under heavy fire by Senator John Glenn in 1992 for diverting $14 million of government money into research unrelated to vaccine production. Environmentalists also attacked the secrecy of Salk's disease research and demanded a better accounting of what went on in the lab, and the Army eventually agreed to provide the public with more information about the hazards there. But last week it was announced that the facility will be closed and its remaining 50 employees laid off on September 30. When the lab was set up in 1978, Salk Institute founder, the late Jonas Salk, had high hopes of the nonprofit La Jolla research organization becoming a big commercial drug and vaccine producer, but the plans came to naught. Earlier this year the Swiftwater lab lost the Army's vaccine contract to an outfit called DynPort of Reston, Virginia.

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