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Pfizer to close UK R&D site in surprise move

Published on 04/12/15 at 01:29pm

Two weeks after its $160 billion buyout of botox-maker Allergan, Pfizer has announced that it is to close a UK research and development facility in a move that will cost 120 jobs.

The surprise decision to close the Granta Park site in Cambridge came despite chief executive Ian Read’s praise of UK science just last year.

Pfizer said it has made the 'difficult' decision as part of ongoing efforts to cut investment in research and development of pain medications - which the site, as part of Neusentis, specialises in.

A company statement read: "Pfizer is continually reviewing and evolving its R&D strategy to ensure that we are best positioned to deliver breakthrough therapies that meet patient needs while driving a return on investment.     

"Scientific research is a complex endeavour, with a lot of inherent risk and failure. Difficult decisions need to be made even in areas where we had hope for meaningful progress.

The company added that it would make supporting the 120 colleagues who may be affected a priority.

The upcoming cuts follow the large reductions in R&D activity at another UK site, in Sandwich, Kent in 2011, which lead to a similar number of redundancies.

Pfizer, which is expected to complete a ‘tax inversion’ by moving its tax domicile from the US to Allergan’s home of Ireland, to take advantage of more favourable corporation tax rates, noted that it would still maintain a “significant presence” in the UK, with a workforce numbering 2,500. The majority of these are employed in manufacturing and commercial roles.

Joel Levy

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