Pfizer’s Kent Closure Could Take Ten Years

The BBC has reported that pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s closure of its Sandwich site, in Kent, could take up to ten years to recover, according to a local councillor.

Over 2,000 jobs are to be lost at the site, and the leader of Kent County Council, Paul Carter, has said that despite there being interest in the site, it will take a long time for a complete recovery. Mr Carter added that it was “a big ask” for a pharmaceutical company to create 2,000 to 3,000 jobs in such a short space of time. He said that should 1,000 jobs be created in 18 months it will have been a good start.

John Westwood, real estate developer at Pfizer, has said that despite there not being “a huge number of organisations or individuals” who could take on the site, there has still been significant interest. A group of politicians has put forward proposals for the centre to be turned into an enterprise zone, which would assist growth.

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QinetiQ Sells Fuel Business to Intertek

The QinetiQ Group, based in Farnborough, is selling off its fuel and lubricants business for £500,000, reports insidermedia.com.

The Intertek Group is to take over the UK Fuel and Lubricants Testing Business (OALTB), which QinetiQ has sold in order to concentrate on their core services, including aerospace and security. Intertek is going to bring the fuel business into the pharmaceutical and chemical division of their operations.

This is the third recent acquisition by Intertek, who have also purchased Stoke based Food Analytical Laboratories Limited (FAL) and Rechere Developpement and Consulting (RDC), based in Brussels. Wolfhart Hauser, CEO of Intertek, has said the purchases “demonstrate Intertek’s progress in its strategy to add new expertise and capabilities across the supply chain.” He later commented that the firm is looking forward “to welcoming these companies and their management teams to Intertek.”

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North West Biomedical Firms Receive Investment

Two biomedical companies, Alchemy Healthcare and Future Medical Technologies, are to each receive £50,000 from the North West Fund for Biomedical, reports pharmatimes.com.

The North West Fund is run by venture capital firm SPARK Impact and supplies debt and equity funding to small and medium sized businesses in the North West of England. Alchemy Healthcare has developed a nasal device for administering treatments in order to avoid injections. The investment they will receive will be used to “complete various elements of tooling and a modest clinical trial,” said Ian Harrison, the firm’s founder. They also hope to receive the results soon and receive further investment.

Future Medical Technologies has developed a polymer to mimic cartilage that is used to help arthritis, improving patient care. The investment will be used to speed development of the product and gain further regulatory approval. Dr Yousef Taktak has called the investment a “great opportunity.”

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EU Research Budget Increase Good News For UK

Timeshighereducation.com has reported a 23% increase in the EU’s research budget, meaning that €1.6 billion is available for frontier research.

Overall funding for the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme has risen to €7 billion (£6.4 billion), the European Research Council (ERC) being the main benefactor, with the increase in their budget. Jerzy Langer, professor at the Polish Academy of Sciences, believes the UK are the main winners in investment, but praises politicians for listening to scientists and granting money without guaranteed returns.

Richard Jones, pro vice-chancellor of research and development at Sheffield University, believes this “is good news for us in an environment in which our own research councils’ funding is being squeezed.” Despite the funding having no real guarantees the ERC funding has traditionally led to good results; such as the winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010, Konstantin Novoselov of the University of Manchester, being able to conduct his research thanks to an ERC grant. Around €80 billion in GDP growth and 450,000 jobs are expected to be created in the next 15 years thanks to the increased funds.

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Cornwall Science Park to Create 750 Jobs

Goonhilly space facility, Cornwall, is being turned into a science park with the aim to create 750 jobs, reports thisiscornwall.co.uk.

GES Ltd, who own the site, applied for a £7 million grant to accelerate the proposals, claiming businesses such as QinetiQ are interested in involving themselves with the site. The UK Space Agency is also said to be interested in the site’s development. The site will have links to various universities, allowing them access to the facilities which will “provide an environment for collaboration between industry and academia.”

The site is expected to become a scientific, technological and engineering hub, with opportunities for businesses in those sectors being put forward alongside the application for the government grant. GES’ Ian Jones has said with the funding, “we can accelerate this opportunity and create high volumes of high-tech jobs, which will have significant knock on benefits for Cornwall.”

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GSK to Profit From Sale of Non-Core Assets

At least three private equity firms are planning a bid for GSK non-prescription drugs, reports Reuters.

The products being bid for include over the counter painkillers and vitamin supplements. These sales are the product of GSK’s reduction of non-core products announced in February, representing 10% of the consumer healthcare business. Bids for the products are expected on 8th August, but will be negotiable. CEO Andrew Witty expects the deals to close in the fourth quarter of 2011 before adding that GSK will be looking for the best deal for shareholders to benefit.

Rival companies are unlikely to bid for all the products GSK is looking to offload, worth a maximum of around £2 billion. However because the products will not be sold as a single body, analysts believe that GSK will not be able to make that amount. The lack of coherence in the products on sale, other than, as one analyst says “stuff that GSK doesn’t want,” also means it will be difficult to sell the portfolio for such an amount in one go.

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Shell Profits Allow For New Projects

The BBC has reported that oil and gas giant Shell recorded a 77% rise in profits in the second quarter of 2011.

The $8 billion profit is roughly double that of the same period in 2010, with the company attributing this to sales of assets in the first half of the year, amounting to $4 billion.

The sales were said to be a “key driver” in the reduction of costs and improvement of operating performance throughout the business. Shell has disclosed that production is down in the second quarter, though it also said that three large scale projects are beginning, increasing European imports and hopefully creating jobs. Chief Executive Peter Voser says that the “new projects should drive [Shell’s] financial performance in the coming quarters.”

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GSK in Job and Tax Pledge

GlaxoSmithKline is set to create more UK jobs and pay more tax, helping the economy, reports the Guardian.

As CK Science has earlier reported, here, GSK is set to expand its UK operations, adding to the current 16,000 employees throughout Britain. Two sites in Scotland and one in county Durham are being looked into as locations to create new plants. This comes at a time when other companies with UK branches are scaling back their operations. Andrew Witty, GSK’s chief executive, has said that his company wants to “have more manufacturing and do more R&D work in Britain” leading to a greater amount of tax paid by GSK.

In the next few years, GSK expects to be a “net hirer” because the UK can strike a good balance between research and development support and competitive medicine prices. GSK has moved back into the black this year, recording a £1.1 billion profit in the second quarter, meaning that they can afford the expense of reopening UK operations.

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Benfits Merger Worry For Pharma Companies

Two pharmacy benefits companies are set to merge in a multi-billion dollar deal, reports fiercepharma.com.

Pharmaceutical companies are beginning to worry that due to the proposed $29 billion deal that will see Express Scripts buy Medco Health Solutions, drug prices could decrease, affecting the pharamceutical compnies profits. Most who have commented on the deal, including Eli Lilly’s CFO Dernica Rice, have played down the impact the buy-out will have, with Rice saying Lilly could maintain its negotiation power through their products advantage over the generic drugs on the market.

However, Michael Luby, of BioPharma Alliance, believes the merger will mean the combined company would have “extraordinary purchasing power… [and] leverage [over] pharmaceutical companies.” Price cuts in Europe; particularly Germany and Spain, have been causing pharmaceutical companies problems, and having staved off effort from the US government over pricing, the big companies are now going to have to attempt to stop the private sector submitting the pharmaceutical sector to the same pricing measures.

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BP to Invest in North Sea Oil Fields

BP are to redevelop their North Sea oil fields, securing and creating jobs in the process, reports the Guardian.

 This is despite the Chancellor’s announcement of a £2 billion levy on North Sea oil and gas, to ease petrol prices, threatening the £12 billion investment and the expected creation of 15,000 jobs. Bob Dudley, BP’s chief executive, has said that the investment is due to the “extensive knowledge” BP has of the North Sea due to over “forty years experience.”

The Treasury has claimed that BP’s decision shows that the North Sea is an “attractive area for new levels of investment.” Despite a drop in offshore drilling of 52% in the second quarter, for a variety of reasons including the government’s budget, the investment is set to go ahead, keeping the offshore platforms running until 2035 at least.

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Norwich Research Park to Create 5,000 Jobs

Business Secretary Vince Cable has opened the Norwich Research Park, set to create 5,000 jobs, reports EDP24.com.

Mr Cable praised the park, calling it “world beating” and “ambitious” as he opened the facility equipped with office space and laboratories. The area the park has been built in is one with a high concentration of food and environmental science businesses, and the project is expected to create around 5,000 jobs over the next fifteen years.

Mr Cable reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the science industry by agreeing to a £26 million investment into the Norwich Research Park, as business plans have been submitted to the government. The park is expected to create the jobs by expanding thanks to the investment.

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GSK to Create 1,000 UK Jobs

GlaxoSmithKline intends to make a £500 million investment into one of four UK sites, reports the Montrose Review.

The investment is expected to create up to 1,000 jobs in one of four UK plants, with Montrose thought to be the front runner due to the recent movement of biomanufacturing of several products from India to the Montrose plant. The Montrose factory also manufactures the products needed to make products that GSK inherited following its acquisition of Steifel in 2009.

Andrew Witty, GSK chief executive, praised the 280 staff at the Montrose factory for turning around what was an ailing site, up for sale at the turn of the Millennium, into a “globally competitive” production plant.

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Roche Set For More Profit Increase

Fiercepharma.com has reported that Roche is set to post “massive increase” in profits, according to an unnamed source.

On Thursday 21st July, Roche is expected to post profits margin increases that follow on from the 4% increase from 2010 throughout the first half of 2011.

Roche has been having to streamline the business; like many pharmaceutical companies have, meaning costs have been cut and some jobs have been lost, but the predicted increase should mean that Roche can balance out the costs and possibly be able to fill those jobs that have been lost in the next few years.

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Quintiles to Create UK Jobs

Biopharmaceutical company Quintiles is looking to establish more UK sites, creating pharmaceutical and clinical jobs, reports pharmatimes.com.

The US company sees the UK as a good place for clinical trials and is hoping to open at least two more Prime Sites to go alongside the one at Queen Mary, University of London. Including two other current sites, Quintiles employs 2,000 people in the UK, a figure set to rise with the planned opening of the new Prime Sites.

Lindy Jones, Quintiles head of global integrated site services, says the UK is of “significant interested to us,” with fifty trials currently being run at the Queen Mary site. Jones believe that the UK “has opened up far more to clinical research” in the past eighteen months, meaning that Quintiles is considering opening “an additional two, maybe three Prime Sites in the UK.”

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Promising Scientists to Receive Grant

Cancer Research UK is making an investment into clinical research, reports cslrecruitment.com.

A £12 million grant is to be made to ten promising researchers who are expected to become prominent in the field of cancer. It is intended to assist with the researcher’s careers and possible breakthroughs they could make. Two leading university lecturers, four scientists and four junior research scientists will be the recipients of the grant.

Applicants are being taken, with the deadline at the end of July drawing closer. Dr David Scott, director of science funding at Cancer Research UK, believes the grants show his organisation “is serious about supporting new scientists at the start of their careers.”

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Bid Could Create Thousands of Jobs in Runcorn

A science park in Runcorn is bidding to win Enterprise status and create thousands of jobs, reports runcornandwidnesworld.co.uk.

If the Daresbury Science and Innovation Park is granted this status, then it could generate up to 10,000 skilled jobs and lead to £150 million investment. Holton Council leader Clr Rob Polhill has said the status would “take Daresbury to the next level.”

Around 100 companies have offices, workshops and laboratories on the site, and the massive investment would mean that even more specialist office, lab and technical spaces would be developed. The site opened in 2006 and is a world class centre for cutting edge sciences and high-tech businesses.

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Environmental Chemists on the Rise

Environmental chemists are much needed in most jobs, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, reports ibnlive.com.

All industries need environmental officers to assess the effect the business has on the environment, and find ways to reduce that impact. The job essentially involves knowing the effects of chemicals (or whatever the business deals with) on the environment. For example, how can a pharmaceutical firm safely and effectively dispose of waste products or leftover stock?

Industries are taking a much more proactive role in environmental issues, so that the role of chemists is becoming prominent. Pharmaceutical, chemical and waste disposal industries all obviously need environmental chemists, but recently even IT firms are beginning to employ people to monitor their environmental impact. A solid grounding in chemistry is of great importance, and it is often recommended that those looking into such a role go on environmental courses.

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Sheffield Waste Recycling Plant to Create Jobs

The Yorkshire Post has reported that 20 jobs will be created at a waste plastic recycling plant in Sheffield.

Kevin Parkin has successfully transformed the fortunes of several companies, and has decided to launch his own businesses. One of said businesses is R3 Products, which will treat mixed and unsorted plastics before selling it on as building products.

Mr Parkin has estimated that they “will employ 20 people within the first year of operation” before adding that the UK industry needs “to be in a position where we can compete with Chinese manufacturers.”

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Pfizer Separate Divisions to Allow Growth

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s decision to separate certain divisions could lead to a larger break up in order for further growth, including in employment, reports forbes.com.

The splitting of the animal health and baby formula businesses from the main company is the beginning of a process to unlock value within the company. Two other sectors will be kept in order to raise their value to $46 billion combined, though investors had hoped the company would split into five distinct divisions.

The two that have broken off were the obvious choices; the animal health business is worth nearly $4 billion so can stand on its own, and the nutrition side is the one that investors were most eager to see separate.

Though some investors may be disappointed that Pfizer hasn’t split all its divisions at once, it means that sectors that could not currently compete on their own have time to grow to the point where they can be world leaders in their own right, potentially creating a large number of jobs worldwide.

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TryggPharma Re-opens Teeside Pharma Plant

TryggPharma of Norway is set to re-open a former Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals site in Seal Sands, creating 25 new pharmaceutical jobs, reports peterleemail.com.

A £14 million deal has been agreed in which Lundbeck will sell their site, which they closed during the recession. TryggPharma’s vice president of engineering Peter Harper has said the company is “very impressed with the facility [as it has] easy to access from Norway, Europe and our customers around the world”.

The facility is expected to employ 25 people within 12 months and the company has said there is a “commitment to invest and expand into the future of Teeside”. The North East Process Industry Cluster chief executive Stan Higgins has said the re-opening of the site is “great news for Teeside and for the pharmaceutical sector in particular”.

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