4. November 2011 15:53
About 650 jobs will be saved at Pfizer’s R&D plant in Sandwich, Kent (pictured) – 300 more than previously announced in June.
So far, 800 staff members have left their positions at the Discovery Park, with a further 700 expected to leave by the end of 2012, with 250 employees relocating to other UK sites, said the company.
The pharmaceutical company announced in February that the research and development facility in east Kent will close, which employed 2,400 people.
The site was then obtained by the Government in August and named part of its Enterprise Zone, to encourage the creation of more jobs and to cut taxes.
Despite Kent County Council commenting that it would take ten years for the site to recover the gap left by the pharma giant, interest has been shown in the space, including from former Pfizer employees who established a new company at the plant in September.
Pfizer said it would continue its phased exit by 2012 and would review the retained operation within a few years as part of its business planning.
21. October 2011 13:35
J&J is creating a new biotech and health IT ‘innovation centre’ as part of its pharmaceutical facility in San Diego.
The healthcare giant expects 18 to 20 life science start-up companies to join the new centre, to be called ‘Janssen Labs at San Diego’.
Diego Miralles, who oversees J&J’s San Diego centre, said: “It’s a completely ‘no-strings attached’ business model.”
He said that start-up companies in the new centre will pay a monthly ‘licensing fee’ to J&J, but the landlord agreement does not grant J&J an equity stake in the businesses.
He estimated the innovation centre will be made up of “modular and flexible” offices available for companies developing mostly biotech and health IT-related technologies. The companies would share a common area for the storage of high-end research equipment, as well as office supplies and other tools.
J&J plans to open the new centre by April 2012.
21. September 2011 13:07
Pfizer is to invest $200 million at its Grange Castle biotechnology manufacturing site in Clondalkin, County Dublin.
The new investment will see Pfizer introduce two new processing suites to expand its current production and product testing capabilities.
Frank D’Amelio, Chief Financial Officer, Pfizer, says “Ireland is a prime location for this major investment” after a “long history in pharmaceutical excellence”.
The biotechnology manufacturing facility is already one of the largest in the world and produces two of Pfizer’s main products, Prevnar and Enbrel.
More than 1,100 staff are currently employed at the site. Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny says that the new investment highlights “the tremendous contribution to Ireland’s life sciences industry since it (Pfizer) first established here in 1969 and this investment is a further demonstration of the company’s continuous commitment”.
In total, Pfizer has 4,300 staff employed across the country in eight separate locations in Cork, Dublin, Kildare and Limerick. Its latest investment means the company’s outlay now exceeds $7 billion in the country.
2. September 2011 12:47
Leicester University has developed a new ‘Star Trek-style’ medical suite to help diagnose hospital patients with potentially serious diseases.
The £1 million ‘sick bay’ aims to assess patients more quickly, reducing the number of time-consuming and uncomfortable blood tests.
Professor Paul Monks, who helped develop the new facility, said: “We want to free doctors to actually treat patients and this technology enhances that ability.”
The medical bed assimilates the “ultimate non-invasive diagnostics”, which Star Trek fans will recognise, said Professor Monks.
“Dr McCoy in Star Trek had a tricorder that he waved over the patients to help diagnose diseases.”
Professor Tim Coats, a consultant at the hospital, said that the non-invasive technology uses one group of instruments to analyse the patient's breath, while a second group uses imaging originally intended for exploring the surface of Mars, while a third looks inside the body to measure blood flow.
The new high-tech facility has taken three years to develop, and promises to improve detection of serious diseases such as cancer, heart failure and infections. Professor Monks said: “We’ve shown that it can detect lung cancer quite early.”
Leicester Royal Infirmary plans to use the new equipment within two weeks in its Accident and Emergency department.
10. August 2011 12:32
The gap left by the closure of Pfizer’s Sandwich base in east Kent has sparked warnings that recovery could take ten years.
Councillor Paul Carter of Kent County Council has said that although there had been interest in the site, it could take a decade for the region to recover from thousands of job losses.
The drugs giant announced in February that only 350 jobs would be saved out of the 2,400 employees at the facility.
Pfizer has said it will “continue to actively market” the site as ‘Discovery Park’ with its brokers. John Westwood, Real Estate Director at Pfizer, says “there has been interest, and we are continuing to pursue those avenues”.
But Councillor Carter has warned a buyer would need to be patient and allow time for the site to deliver results.
After the closure was announced, a task force of politicians was set up to support new business and employment on the Pfizer site.
Laura Sandys, Conservative MP, South Thanet, and a member of the task force, attacked the pharma giant for the speed of the redundancies: “Pfizer is exiting or creating redundancies too quickly for us to be able to secure that finance and that investment from private sector companies.”
Pfizer said there will be a phased exit of the site in Ramsgate Road by 2012. The site was put on the market in June.