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.”