by Martin Jefferies and Rob Daly
Dozens of staff have been told their jobs could be at risk at one of the county’s biggest employers.
Pfizer informed staff at its European research and development base in Sandwich yesterday that it planned to close its vaccine research and bio-therapeutics research departments.
The announcement came just days after the pharmaceutical giant acquired Wyeth, one of its leading competitors.
Dr David Roblin, vice president and head of research at the Sandwich laboratories, said: “We’re not sure exactly what the impact will be on individual colleagues as we’re still merging the Wyeth and the Pfizer portfolio.
“Obviously there’s an immediate impact on those working in vaccines and bio-therapeutics, although many of those will have opportunities to move roles within Sandwich and within the global Pfizer network.”
When asked exactly how many employees would be affected, Dr Roblin said the figure would be “less than 50”. He added: “That doesn’t belittle any of our staff, all of whom have given valuable contributions to Sandwich. I expect the majority to find good roles within the network and within Pfizer.”
In a statement, Pfizer said its Sandwich base, which employs more than 3,000 people, would remain one its five “main research sites”, alongside American hubs in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and California.
Local staff would concentrate on the areas of respiratory disease, pain and pain therapy, Dr Roblin said.