Chemistry World magazine’s Neil Sinclair reports on some exciting new ventures emerging from the Pfizer site in Sandwich, UK.
“In February 2011, drug giant Pfizer announced it would be closing its Sandwich, UK, site – where the iconic erectile dysfunction drug Viagra (sildenafil) was developed – within two years, putting 2400 R&D staff at risk of redundancy. Manufacturing at the plant stopped in 2007. Plans to close the site – the UK’s biggest research laboratory – led to calls by Britain’s biggest union, Unite, and the prime minister, David Cameron, for Pfizer to explore options to maintain some activities and employment. These appeals have been partially successful, the company has subsequently agreed that about 650 jobs will be retained, some 300 more than originally expected. Pfizer has also relocated around 250 staff to other sites, reducing total expected redundancies to about 1500.
While the future remains cloudy for those facing redundancy, green shoots of recovery are starting to emerge at Sandwich. Last August the site was awarded enterprise zone status, meaning tax breaks and easier planning processes for companies setting up business there. The Research Network (TRN), which aims to improve the outsourcing process, was the first new company to call the site home. TRN was established in September 2011 by seven former Pfizer employees. ‘In a way, you could see it as outsourcing the outsourcing,’ TRN’s chief executive Andrew McElroy told Chemistry World at the time of the company’s launch.”
Sinclair, Neil. “Rising from the ashes.” Chemistry World. March 2012.