Pfizer is behind the discovery and development of medicines, including Viagra and cholesterol-reducing drugs. The multinational has been at the site in Sandwich in Kent for almost sixty years. Around two thousand four hundred jobs were scheduled to go over an 18-month to two year period stretching from February 2011 onwards.
The announcement, part of a major restructuring of Pfizer's global Research and Development arm, was a major blow to East Kent. Pfizer was Sandwich's largest single employer.
The Sandwich Economic Development Task Force was set up to look at the problems the closure would cause the area, not just with the lost jobs, but with the knock-on effect of diminished spending in the town. One of its main aims is to turn the Pfizer site into a new hub for business by marketing and promoting the Discovery Park Enterprise Zone in Sandwich.
The government was asked to assist with the economic fallout. The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills asked Paul Carter, the leader of Kent County Council to lead a task force in partnership with Pfizer and the Local Enterprise Partnership. The group has also been working with local MPs and the leaders of Dover and Thanet District Councils.
On Tuesday the task force wil present its progress report to the Science Minister David Willetts MP at the House of Commons.