Pfizer in talks with CROs to fill its Sandwich R&D hub

A UK task force--assembled to salvage as many R&D jobs at Sandwich as it can before Pfizer completes its planned exit--has confirmed that the pharma giant is in discussions with clinical research organizations which may step in to hire some of the 2,400 workers being let go. That could go a long way to filling the operations that Pfizer spent the past 60 years building up in the area.

According to kentonline, Pfizer hopes that the CROs will keep the research hub in operation, studying drugs for the pharma giant as well as others. The task force will be rooting for a slate of tax and planning breaks for companies moving into the research hub, which the group would like to turn into an economic enterprise zone. And BBC is reporting that Pfizer has signed confidentiality agreements with 10 companies that have signaled an interest in picking up where Pfizer leaves off.

"Our report focuses on the opportunities presented by the world class skills and facilities built by Pfizer over the last 60 years," said one of the task force leaders. "Combined, they offer a unique asset on which to build a new model of high tech growth and employment which would be of importance not only to Kent, but to the country."

Pfizer has made it clear that it plans to use more CRO talent to shoulder development work. It's been following in the footsteps of Eli Lilly, Sanofi-Aventis, GlaxoSmithKline and others which have turned facilities over to CROs as they downsize in-house research operations.

- read the story from kentonline
- here's the BBC report