Opening of the new facility is a boost for the site which has seen its workforce reduced in recent years, first by Wyeth and then, post-acquisition, by Pfizer. Further investment in the site to install new packaging lines and additional cold storage capacity is planned for 2011.
“This investment in the new packaging hall at Havant demonstrates our aim to ensure this state-of-the-art facility remains a centre of expertise for cold chain distribution and packaging”, said Richard Blackburn, managing director of Pfizer UK.
In 2006 Wyeth reorganised the Havant site to focus on the packaging and distribution of its biologics and vaccines, such as Prevnar (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine). Pfizer, having in May detailed plans to cut 90 jobs from Havant, has now bolstered packaging capabilities.
Investment from Pfizer has been welcomed by the UK government which is keen to see the country’s life sciences and manufacturing sectors prosper despite global competition and the economic downturn.
David Willetts, science minister in the UK, said: “I’m hugely encouraged that even in these tough economic times the world’s largest research-based biopharmaceutical company has chosen the UK to make this significant investment.”
A high quality science base, strong innovation and research and development, and a well-established intellectual property rights system make the UK attractive to inward life sciences investment, says the government.
Furthermore, the UK National Health Service (NHS) is open to collaboration with industry and researchers. Examples of this collaboration include translational medicine sites Icon and Quintiles have established in the UK in collaboration with the NHS.
The UK government says the reputation for effective collaboration between the NHS, industry and researchers is growing, both nationally and internationally and this attracts inward investment.