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Pfizer in Sandwich: celebrating 20 years of making clinical supply medicines

Pfizer’s Research & Development site in Sandwich, Kent, unveils new technology as it celebrates 20 years of clinical trial manufacturing.

Pfizer’s presence in Sandwich was first established nearly 65 years ago with the mass production of penicillin during World War II. Since then, the site has continued to evolve and in 1996 the Florey Chain House manufacturing facility officially opened.

Celebrating 20 years on, the facility unveiled two new pieces of equipment for controlled-release manufacturing technology, marking its commitment to continuously improve onsite capabilities in the search for the treatments of tomorrow.

It was in November 1996 that I had the honour of opening Florey Chain House, so it's great to be back as it reaches this exciting milestone. The facility represents an important part of the drug discovery process, not just when the medicines have made it to market, but in that very critical phase of determining the safety and effectiveness of those drugs."

Professor Trevor Jones CBE, former Director General of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI)


Controlled-release technology allows researchers to alter the way the active ingredient is released and absorbed into the body, avoiding an initial spike as the medicine is delivered. Beyond the clinical benefits, this also means greater convenience for patients as it’s likely they won’t need to take their medicine as often during the day.1

Professor Trevor Jones CBE, former Director General of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), joined Pfizer colleagues on 15th November to celebrate the facility’s manufacturing achievements and cut the ribbon to officially open the new equipment.


We have very dedicated colleagues at Sandwich working hard to produce and deliver medicines to patients all over the world. That's why it’s so important that we celebrate this significant milestone and take the opportunity to say 'thank you' to those who continue to work for patients today."

Ross MacRae, Senior Director, Drug Product Supply, Medicinal Sciences, Pfizer UK
About Sandwich

Located on the thriving Discovery Park campus, our research and development (R&D) site in Sandwich is home to over 700 colleagues scientists, technicians, regulatory professionals and business experts all working towards creating life-changing medicines for patients. The site is unique as it is home to Pfizer’s only fully automated Pilot Plant that manufactures medicines for use in Pfizer’s clinical trials worldwide.

Since starting operations over 20 years ago, it's estimated that Florey Chain House colleagues have tested 10,000 analytical samples, produced around 100 million solid-form medicines for use in clinical trials and sent over 50,000 shipments from the building's warehouse. With around 230 colleagues in the building today, the site continues to play a fundamental role in the drug discovery journey.


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Pfizer has a long and proud history of being part of world class science in the UK. Our site in Sandwich, Kent was one of the world’s first mass production facilities for penicillin back in the 1950’s  and continues to be an important location for Pfizer 60 years later.


Over the past 65 years, we have continued to invest in the UK and are committed to working with the NHS and other healthcare organisations across the industry developing solutions to improve the delivery of care and patient outcomes.



  1. Nokhodchi, A., Raja, S., Patel, P., & Asare-Addo, K. (2012). The role of oral controlled release matrix tablets in drug delivery systems. BioImpacts : BI, 2(4), 175-87.


PP-PFE-GBR-3241 / November 2020