Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG announced its plans for a US$100 million (euro78 million) integrated research and development center in Shanghai that will initially focus on cancers prevalent in China, such as liver, stomach and nose and throat cancers, the Associated Press reports. The center, to be built in a science park in the city''s eastern suburbs of Pudong, is expected to open in a temporary facility by May 2007, with a larger permanent site to begin operations later in 2007, the company said. The widespread prevalence of hepatitis, which can lead to liver cancer, makes China a good location for studying the disease, he noted. Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis chose Shanghai primarily because of its large pool of experts working at local universities and research centers, said Mark Fishman, president of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. Novartis invested about US$4.8 billion in research and development in 2005. The US$100 million represents spending on the Shanghai research center over the first three years of its construction and operation, company executives said. The company already has a partnership with a local research institute, the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, and collaborates with a local drug manufacturer, Wuxi PharmaTech Co. Shanghai has sought to attract major multinational companies to invest in its high-tech sector and in particular to invest in its biotech industries.