Pfizer and Kent County Council announce £5million investment each at Discovery Park site

Discovery Park

Pfizer is investing £5million to grow its manufacturing capabilities for paediatric medicines at the Discovery Park site in Sandwich.

The pharmaceutical giant made a huge scale back of operations at the site in 2012 with 2,400 job losses. Initially planned for full closure of its research and development centre, Pfizer then made the decision to retain a smaller operation at the newly renamed Discovery Park which was bought by Trevor Cartner, Chris Musgrave and Palmer Capital. The site has since passed to Discovery Park Estates Ltd.

Since 2018, Pfizer says it has invested more than £36 million in advanced manufacturing and innovation at the site, creating 80 new scientific jobs.

 Discovery Park

The announcement made today (June 20) coincides with the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP) annual conference, this year hosted by Pfizer at Discovery Park.

The investment will enhance Pfizer’s design and manufacturing capability for paediatric medicines in clinical trials. The sum will cover the cost of a highly-specialised manufacturing technology enabling scientists to explore ways to make medicines more palatable with flexible dosing for children.

Julian Thompson, Vice President, Global Regulatory Operations and Sandwich Site Head said: “Since 1954, our site at Sandwich has played a crucial role in the development of new, life-saving medicines. This investment demonstrates Pfizer’s continuing focus on innovation in advanced manufacturing and highlights our patient first approach; ensuring that cutting-edge technology can be used to design and manufacture medicines for clinical trials that are palatable for children with the most serious illnesses.”

An additional £5 million of funding has also been unlocked from Kent County Council through the East Kent Growth Fund which was established in 2012 to help investors grow businesses and create new jobs in the area.

County council leader Paul Carter said: “Today, at the MMIP conference, we are delighted to announce that Kent County Council is investing £5 million in a new venture capital fund aimed at supporting SME Life Sciences businesses at Discovery Park.

“This builds on efforts made by KCC and partners in the Sandwich task force, which helped to secure the site over the last seven years and has grown business investment. There are now 3,500 people employed on the site, 1,100 more jobs on the site than when the task force was set up (in 2012).

“Our investment, coupled with Pfizer’s ongoing contribution to the site and surrounding life sciences community, will boost Kent’s position as a centre for scientific excellence in the UK. We are pleased to be working together with Pfizer, Kent’s universities and other key partners in the Kent economy to develop this initiative.”

There are currently some 700 employees based at Pfizer’s site in Sandwich.

Mayer Schreiber, CEO of Discovery Park,  said: “Discovery Park is a thriving part of the South East’s life science community, working with its tenants and partners to build a world-leading science park with a focus on manufacturing and digital transformation. We are delighted that Pfizer is continuing to invest in world-class science and technology at the site helping to drive innovation. In addition, Discovery Park welcomes the new source of venture capital funding via Kent County Council for life sciences businesses on the Park.”

17 Comments

  1. This is fantastic news for East Kent and it only serves to highlight how successful Discovery Park has been in replacing the thousands of well-paid jobs which were lost when Pfizer closed down many parts of its business. It’s also a wake-up call to the dead-head councillors who think that regeneration can be achieved by resuscitating old failed commercial ideas. The world of work is changing fast. Manual jobs are rapidly being replaced by computers and robots and the airports of tomorrow will employ very few people. The future lies with research and development, skilled mechanical, electronic and microelectronic engineering, new medicines, the creative arts and leisure activities.

  2. Great News that Pfizer is expanding. Many of us wish that they would repurchase the site. However, with the likes of Miles & Bar, Hornby Hobbies DED and possibly others moving off site the numbers employed permanently and directly on site could be different. Mr Carter has always had a very good imagination.

    Three questions I have (1) is who owns Discovery Park Estates Ltd. (2) Are Mr Cartner and Musgrave and Palmer Capital involved in the site. (3) Who are the directors of Discovery Park. Estates Ltd.
    With the loss of the enterprise zone status benefits coming to an end and rental fee’s increasing how many more companies will either go bust or leave.

  3. Like many others, I am delighted that Discovery Park did not just become another brownfield site of weeds and crumbling buildings like so much of Britain’s economy in recent years.
    We should all be aware that Kent County Council is putting as much taxpayers money into this project as private investors are putting in. £5 million each.
    The idea that private businesses and investors are the future of our economy was NEVER true. At least KCC are admitting that democratically-elected bodies should be investing in our economy because “private enterprise” is led by the interests of the shareholders, not the interests of the people as a whole. Left to their own devices, private industries will be leaving the UK like rats leave a sinking ship. They can only be persuaded to stay and keep workplaces open if we, the taxpayers, bribe them with grants, and tax breaks , and a blind eye to all the tax dodges that are a British speciality.
    Eventually, we may even come to realise that we don’t really need them and that our industries are safer if we run them ourselves. Otherwise, we will remain living with the dread of being abandoned by international investors who can make more money somewhere else.
    All these “patriotic” Brexiters are so keen to stop PEOPLE moving freely from country to country but don’t seem to notice all the MONEY moving around, and out of Britain, without any hindrance at all. I wonder who is paying them.

  4. If these businesses need subsidies they should be taken into public ownership, then there will be a return on the public money invested, there will be no shareholders, and any profits can be passed on to the workforce in the form of higher wages, or reinvested in the company. Why on earth are we throwing taxpayers’ money at private enterprises, which should be self-supporting?

  5. Nobody’s going to be horrified, Rebecca, because you’ve found nothing. You’re just another bitter and frustrated airport fanatic who’s desperate to spread malicious gossip. How do I know this? Well, if you anything to say which you could prove you would post it. You aren’t posting anything because you’re scared that they’ll sue you for libel.

  6. I would be very worried about Kent County Council investing £5m into a venture capital fund which by its definition is very high-risk. Is this really a wise or worthwhile investment of scarce council finances? There would be a high risk they will get nothing back if whatever businesses the money is invested in don’t succeed, as would probably be fairly likely in such an industry.

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