Pfizer cuts 500 jobs at Kent facility

Pfizer Kent Image credit: John Sainsbury / Shutterstock

Pharmaceutical and biotech giant and Covid-19 vaccine maker Pfizer will cut around 500 UK jobs in a cost-cutting move affecting its Kent facility.

The New York-headquartered drug firm will axe its pharmaceutical sciences small molecule plans at its facility in Sandwich, where the firm employs about 940 people.

First established 69 years ago, the Sandwich Pfizer site – where the drug Viagra was first discovered – once employed more than 2,000 people. Cuts in 2011 saw Pfizer sell off part of its Kent operations.

Sky News reported that it expects the roles lost at the Kent facility to be moved to sites in India and the US.

“We are proud of our heritage of breakthrough science in the UK and we will retain a scientific presence in the UK including at our Discovery Park location in Sandwich,” said Pfizer.

The company added that “other functions at our Sandwich site will continue with a different size” and that it was “in consultation with the affected colleagues” and would share more “over the coming months”.

The cuts come amid a major cost reduction scheme from the pharma giant, which experienced record sales off the back of its work developing a Covid-19 vaccine.

The company boosted sales to $100bn last year, however, a sharp fall in demand for Covid-19 vaccinations led to the firm losing money last quarter for the first time since 2019.

Job cuts are also expected to affect Pfizer’s operations in the US and Ireland.

In July, Pfizer invested £19m into Cambridge-based biotech company CellCentric.