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.
6. October 2011 16:01
Sanofi Pasteur has invested $300 million in plans to open a new vaccine manufacturing plant in India by March 2012.
The new plant aims to help expand the company’s vaccine capabilities, following the acquisition of India’s Shantha Biotech for $784 million in 2009.
However, the deal carried manufacturing defects forced by the WHO to cancel pre-qualification of the vaccine Shan5, costing Sanofi hundreds of millions of dollars.
But Chris Viehbacher, CEO of Sanofi, said to the Business Standard: “We have implemented all the corrective measures. And we are quite positive about the relationship with Shantha and will be participating in global tenders once the pre-qualification process is completed for low-cost and high-quality vaccines.”
By 2015, Sanofi expects 30% of its total sales to come from the US, 33% from Europe and the rest from emerging markets.
26. September 2011 16:31
The EMA is reassured about the quality of Baxter’s dialysis fluids following improvements at the company’s manufacturing facility in Castlebar, Ireland, after an investigation.
Several modifications are now being made at the site including a redesign, new cleaning methods and improved testing to ensure future endotoxin-free dialysis.
The Irish Medicines Board will also inspect the plant next month, after which it will go through a 12 month monitoring ‘requalification period’ with products undergoing rigorous testing and increased surveillance.
The CHMP began a review in December last year after endotoxins were detected in solutions which may have led to adverse reactions in some patients undergoing peritoneal dialysis.
After notifying the EMA, Baxter identified two troublesome tanks as the cause of the problem and subsequently removed them from the production line. Additional tanks and pipe works were also cleaned in an attempt to remove the bacteria.
However, endotoxins were still detected in batches of solutions produced at the plant and resulted in the manufacturing of the solutions to be stopped and shifted outside of the EU.
The affected products, including Dianeal, Extraneal and Nutrineal solutions for peritoneal dialysis; and Monosol used for haemodialysis, were eventually recalled in stages and the supply from Castlebar stopped.
Following an inspection of the plant, the CHMP concluded that the “root cause” was a combination of undetected cracks in equipment, the design of the plant and cleaning methods that may have allowed the contamination to spread.
The corrective measures being introduced at Castlebar will now be applied to Baxter’s other manufacturing plants.
2. September 2011 14:59
Former Pfizer employees have established a research networking firm to be based at their previous workplace in Sandwich, Kent (pictured).
Seven ex-Pfizer staff members will be part of The Research Network, “a bit like a dating agency for scientists”, as described by its CEO, Andrew McElroy.
He explained that the company would help biotech and pharmaceutical companies connect with partners for outsourcing research productivity.
“We are a talented team of experienced drug discovery scientists who have a broad knowledge of the scientific services market place, what things cost, how long projects will take and who provides the best service.”
Pfizer put the site up for sale in June, with the Government naming the Discovery Park as an Enterprise Zone.
Kent County Council has previously warned that financial recovery in the area could take up to a decade, but MPs have since begun campaigning for investment interest in the site.
Significant interest has been shown in the site, hoping to attract around 190 businesses, which will in turn create around 2,500 new jobs, replacing the 2,400 lost when Pfizer decided to close the plant in February.
The drug giant was previously criticised for its lack of support to those who were made redundant, and only retained 350 employees at the plant until it vacates the premises by the end of 2012.
18. August 2011 11:02
Pfizer’s previous home (pictured) in East Kent will now be used as part of the Government’s Enterprise Zone bid to create more jobs and cut taxes.
The package could support up to 2,600 jobs and 190 businesses at the recently named Discovery Park in Sandwich.
The Enterprise Zone aims to attract new start up businesses and other investors with simplified planning rules and millions of pounds in tax breaks to promote growth.
Laura Sandys, South Thanet MP, previously said that the scheme “will actually drive change and make the difference”.
The drugs giant said in February that the base would close by the end of 2012, which retained 350 out of 2,400 jobs.
Pfizer previously struggled to encourage interest in the site after it went on the market in June.
Government minister, Greg Clark, said: “The people of Kent, its local businesses and civic leaders are ready to take up the reins of the local economy, with the Discovery Park at the centre of their plan to accelerate growth.”
The Enterprise Zone in Sandwich joins nine others across the country created by the Government, expected to include locations in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds, London, Nottingham, and the North East.