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Sirtris is leaving Kendall Square to relocate to Philadelphia

Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, a Cambridge company that is looking to develop potential treatments for age-related diseases, partly by using proteins similar to those found in red wine, is being relocated to Philadelphia by its corporate parent, giant drug maker GlaxoSmithKline.

Melinda Stubbee, a GlaxoSmithKline spokeswoman, confirmed the move Tuesday. Sirtris has 60 employees in Cambridge. A yet-to-be-determined number of those employees will be re-assigned to Philadelphia, likely by late spring, she said.

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Sirtris may be best known for its research with resveratrol an ingredient found in red wine that some scientists believe has the potential to extend life, but Sirtris hasn’t done any work on resveratrol in nearly three years, Stubbee said.

Sirtris employees will be integrated into GSK’s “broader drug discovery organization,” said Stubbee, who noted that decision was not driven by a lack of achievement on the part of the Sirtris team.

“The research they’ve done has been highly successful,” she said.

The relocation is intriguing for at least one reason --- Sirtris is leaving Kendall Square, a hotbed of biotechnology research, at a time when many other drug companies are scrambling to gain a presence there.

While no Sirtris and GSK are no longer pursuing research on resveratrol at this time, a recent study offered more evidence of its anti-aging potential, noted a Globe story from earlier this month.

Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.
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