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Redundancies at Discovery Park after Pfizer withdraw contract

Scientists at the Discovery Park in Sandwich are facing redundancy after drugs giant Pfizer withdrew a contract from Peakdale Molecular.

About 15 to 20 highly qualified positions are at risk, it is believed.

This equates to half the firm’s work force, according to the Mercury’s anonymous source, but neither company has confirmed the numbers.

Pfizer has a base in Sandwich
Pfizer has a base in Sandwich

A spokesperson for Peakdale Molecular said: “Due to a strategic decision by one of our clients, a contract for our services has been reduced. This will unfortunately result in a small number of redundancies, the final number is yet to be confirmed.

“We are currently going through an evaluation process looking at the skill-sets at our Sandwich location to determine what the effect will be.

“Until we complete this process, we will not know who will be affected. However, in readiness we have put in place a number of plans to help support staff that could be involved.”

The concept life sciences company has pledged to support its employees by advising them of any vacant roles within the Peakdale group, offering relocation packages.

Peakdale has also committed its HR department to support those affected by helping them with applications for any internal or external roles.

A spokesman added: “We remain committed to our Sandwich operation. We will continue to build the chemistry services we offer from Sandwich and are in discussions with a number of other pipeline clients that, if we win, will be managed from Sandwich. We are also planning to expand the biology services we offer from this site, which will further build and strengthen the business.”

In 2011, drugs giant Pfizer announced it planned to leave its Sandwich base by the end of 2012, axing 2,400 jobs. Of that number, only 650 were kept and the site became an Enterprise Zone now known as Discovery Park.

Discovery Park is now home to more than 100 international and local companies, including Peakdale Molecular, which has been there since 2011.

A Pfizer spokeswoman said: “As part of its regular review of operating practices, Pfizer has changed its approach to conducting certain medicinal chemistry activities.

"This business decision has had an impact on our working relationship with one of our contract resource providers, Peakdale Molecular.

“We are unable to comment on any possible redundancies as these individuals are employed directly by Peakdale Molecular, not Pfizer. However, we do recognise and wish to remain sensitive to the fact business decisions of this nature can have an impact on people.

"Our priority is always to engage with the affected organisation first and foremost.

“Although we are revisiting the scope of our current relationship, Pfizer expects to continue to work with Peakdale Molecular as a key partner.”

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