The facilities in Dagenham, London had historically made pharmaceuticals - employing at one point over 4,500 people - but former owners, French Pharma Giant Sanofi, announced plans to shutter the site in 2009, and production ended in 2013.
The site, which was sold to regeneration specialists Site Operations Group (SOG) last year, Dagenham, has now reopened to offer access to manufacturing space “that money can’t buy,” said former Government Minister Steven Norris, officially launching ‘Londoneast-uk’ last week.
“What you have at Londoneast-uk are scientific facilities; for example production facilities for pharmaceuticals which are temperature controlled, dust controlled, humidity controlled,” he added. “These facilities would probably cost you, if you were going to build them from new, upwards of £50m [$76m] – and that’s just the build costs.”
Paul Smith, a spokesman from SOG, told in-pharmatechnologist.com there pharma are able to rent some of the 17 acres of specialist buildings on short or long-term licenses, depending on their requirements, and existing labs can be remodelled to suit client’s requirements.
“Naturally Sanofi has taken their drug production equipment away,” he said, “but the clean room/sterile facilities all have extensive behind-the-scenes, very high-tech filtration systems, fume extraction systems to ensure a clean air environment in some of these of the buildings.”
While he told us SOG is speaking to several science-based companies, details for now remain confidential.
In 2011, Pfizer closed its R&D facilities in Sandwich, Kent and the site was redeveloped as a ‘discovery-park,’ with over 40 pharma, biotech and life sciences companies leasing lab space.
Similarly, AstraZeneca’s Biocity in Alderley Park, near Manchester, offers emerging pharma firms the opportunity to use state-of-the-art facilities independent of the Pharma giant.