SOUTHBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Harvard Medical School has announced that it plans to close down its primate research center, which has come under fire in recent years for the deaths of several monkeys.

The school announced Tuesday that the New England Primate Research Center in Southborough will wind down operations in the next year to two years rather than seek a new 5-year grant.

The school said in a statement that the decision came after reviewing "the long-term academic benefits and the financial cost of continuing to operate" the center.

Officials said the decision was "extremely difficult in light of the groundbreaking research" that has taken place at the facility.

The facility is one of eight National Primate Research Centers supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Most of the animals will be transferred.