Since our first UK facility opened its doors in 1952, we have remained committed to discovering and developing new and innovative ways to prevent and treat disease. Join us as we reflect on the last 70 years of creating breakthroughs that change patients' lives.
Our story began with the production of penicillin
Pfizer’s presence in the UK was established 70 years ago in Folkestone, Kent where we began converting base compounds into medicines for UK patients. Two years later, our facility in Sandwich opened for the mass production of penicillin for troops during World War II. Over the years, our Sandwich site – located on the thriving Discovery Park campus – has been the birthplace of some of Pfizer’s most important medicines. The site continues to play a fundamental role in Pfizer’s drug discovery journey, with 85% of our small molecule products passing through Sandwich in their development.
Our evolution through innovation, collaboration, and investment
Advances in technology and innovation over the last 70 years have driven significant progress in research and development (R&D). As science advances, so does our collective ability to harness cutting-edge technology to deliver life-changing solutions for patients. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the need to create medicines and vaccines at lightspeed. Pfizer has a longstanding commitment to UK science – with over £1.5 billion invested in UK R&D since 2016.1 We know that working together is critical to unlocking medical breakthroughs – whether to improve understanding of diseases or develop treatments for people in need. During 2022 we had 102 R&D collaborations with universities, pharmaceutical companies, industries, and others across the UK. Our investment in the UK is part of our ongoing commitment to improve health outcomes for people living in the UK and around the world.
We are proud to support the NHS
Pfizer’s UK operations have continued to grow over the last 70 years – we now have over 2,400 colleagues working in four locations. During 2021, we had 27 ongoing clinical trials across 71 UK sites, involving 636 patients.2 As part of our 70-year presence in the UK, we are committed to working with the NHS and other healthcare organisations to deliver on our purpose, breakthroughs that change patients’ lives. We are proud to provide over 150 Pfizer medicines and vaccines to the NHS, delivered to pharmacies, surgeries, and hospitals across the UK.
"It is rewarding to know there is a purpose and outcome for everything we do and that our work has a direct impact on ensuring patients receive the medicines they need."
Don, CSI (Chemistry and Spectroscopy Investigations) Manager, Pfizer UK
*Don has been at Pfizer for more than 30 years, having previously held roles as Senior Principal Scientist and Analytical Scientist. Don has been in his current role as CSI Manager for 13 years.
We are dedicated to improving outcomes for UK patients in 2023 and beyond
We believe in the power of prevention – as set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.3 Our focus for the future will be supporting the NHS to meet growing demands by providing access to vaccines and treatments, and continuing to work across the UK life sciences ecosystem to bring new breakthroughs to patients. While Pfizer has evolved over the last 70 years, our commitment to investing in the UK remains unchanged. We are dedicated to developing solutions to improve patient outcomes in 2023 and beyond, and fulfilling our ambition of 25 breakthroughs by 2025.
"It is truly incredible to see a company move at the speed of science and continue to create breakthroughs that change patients’ lives"
Adelinna, Biopharma Quality Associate undergraduate, Pfizer UK
Pfizer. Data on file.
NHS. NHS Long Term Plan Jan 2023.