RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Cisco opened its fourth campus on Friday, unveiling three new buildings covering 430,000 square feet. But the new complex, located in Boxborough MA, doesn’t pose a threat to its RTP operation, says a local site executive.

“The question some people will ask is — will this new campus have any impact on RTP, and the answer is obviously, no.

“The fact of the matter is we are focused on all four of our campuses,” says Joe Fredosso, director of RTP site operations who spent much of last week helping to prepare the new campus debut. “When the economy does turn around, Cisco intends to be in the position to capitalize.”

Other Cisco campuses include its headquarters in Silicon Valley and in Dallas.

The Foxboro campus is an addition to Massachusetts’ “High-Tech Corridor”, covering over 430 acres. Some 900 employees will be in the new buildings by sometime in July. Cisco also operates a former NEC facility covering 270,000 square feet and employing 500 people. Also part of its New England operation is an optical manufacturing facility in Salem, NH that employs another 200. Rounding out the workforce are between 200 and 300 sales people.

In RTP, Cisco operates nine buildings covering 1.2 million square feet. Some 2,500 people are employed there plus another 300 contractors and vendors.

The Boston region has been a popular shopping area for Cisco in recent years, making 13 acquisitions since 1994. Primary targets have been core routing, switching and virtual private network/security firms. The two most recent deals (Okena, Altiga) involved security-focused outfits.

“We made a promise to the employees (of the acquired firms) that we would build a campus similar to RTP,” Fredosso says. “It’s easier for them to operate between the various technologies.”

The campus has plenty of room for growth, he adds. Cisco owns more than 430 acres but thus far is utilizing only 100.

A unique challenge for the campus is how Cisco managed to deal with an environmental challenge. Special tunnels were built under a road so that two species of turtles living on a reserve divided by the highway can travel safely back and forth.

“The man-hole covers are designed to let the sun shine through,” Fredosso says. “Apparently the turtles travel during the day, so we had to provide them light in order for them to see.”

EPA’S tightly controlled campus

Speaking of environmental controls —

Attending “Is the sky falling?” clear air summit at the amazing EPA campus in RTP was not for the faint of heart. Security screened attendees to make sure they were on a pre-registered list; they also had to show a picture ID just to get in the gate. Once on site — and if you haven’t been there, the campus is nothing short of remarkable — there were security people everywhere. And they were the ones in uniform. Who knows who else was there in plain clothes, in addition to others watching on video cameras.

Axcan admits defeat

After all the fireworks and fiery rhetoric, the takeover battle between Salix Pharmaceuticals and Axcan Pharma ended Friday with a whimper.

“We are disappointed that the Salix stockholders did not share our view as to the value of our offer,” said Leon Gosselin, chairman and chief executive officer of Axcan, in a statement. “There are numerous opportunities available and we look forward to pursuing them to build Axcan shareholder value.”

Axcan’s bid for Salix expired Friday. The company had offered $10.50 a share for Salix in a fight that started in April at $8.75 a share. Salix shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favor of its existing board at its shareholder meeting a couple weeks ago, thus in effect defeating the Axcan takeover.

Salix stock closed at $10.78 on Friday, down 30 cents.

More positive coverage for Trimeris

Another day, another mixed message for investors?

Trimeris received a stock upgrade on Friday as USB Piper Jaffray initiated coverage at “Outperform.” Trimeris stock closed up 19 cents, to $46.77.

On June 17, Bear Stearns downgraded Trimeris to “peer perform” from outperform.

Rick Smith is managing editor of Local Tech Wire.