Sanofi set to create new tech park when Dagenham site closes

Posted on 1 Jun 2012
Sanofi-avenis site at Dagenham
Sanofi-avenis site at Dagenham

French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi, which is closing its East London manufacturing plant with the loss of 450 jobs, has secured planning permission for a major regeneration programme on the site aimed at generating 2,500 new jobs.

Planning permission for the overhaul of the site includes building a new supermarket, hotel and manufacturing operations while utilizing existing buildings for a health and dental care centre and retaining existing laboratories and scientific manufacturing facilities aimed at attracting other technology companies to take them over. The site is being marketed under brand name of business-east.

Sanofi announced that its Dagenham site would close in 2013 with the 450  people employed there all made redundant.

The closure was part of the firm’s restructuring programme set out in 2009 following reduced demand for its cancer drugs Taxotere and Eloxatin as well as its other product lines.

Despite the announcement of the plant closing in 2013, the company has instigated a regeneration programme to secure a long-term legacy and pull in more money through its sell-off.

The new plans, which have received support from the Mayor of London’s office, will offer other businesses the opportunity to access the specialist R&D facilities that already exist.

The site will become multi-occupancy and SOG, the regeneration firm hired by Sanofi to oversee developments, has predicted that 2,500 jobs will be created.

Although the majority of the jobs will not be in manufacturing, it is hoped that the research and development basis for other pharmaceutical or science-based companies could provide potential jobs for the workers who will be made redundant next year.

SOG’s property manager Tim Metson says: “There are thousands of square feet of specialist manufacturing and laboratory facilities on the Dagenham site that would cost millions of pounds to recreate at today’s prices. Our plan is to retain these buildings and offer them to other scientific businesses where they can be adapted for a multitude of R&D projects.”

The site has sterile manufacturing facilities, chemical and microbiology laboratories and warehouses with specialist utilities including water for injections, deionised water, clean steam, medical grade compressed air as well as state-of-the-art air-conditioning systems.

Outline planning permission was granted by Barking and Dagenham Council last month. The Council hopes that a new era of science research & development will be created on the site once Sanofi leaves – attracting even more skilled jobs to the Borough.

Jim Moretta, Sanofi site leader at Dagenham, said:  “There are excellent R&D facilities here which could benefit other large pharmaceutical companies or small to medium businesses intending to grow their operations in the science sector.”