Birthplace of world famous drugs honoured with chemical landmark

16 October 2010

The laboratories where several world famous drugs were discovered was awarded with a Royal Society of Chemistry blue landmark plaque yesterday.

The prize is in recognition of more than half a century of discoveries carried out by the leading pharmaceutical company Pfizer. The company's European research Head Quarters site in Sandwich, Kent, has made major contributions to the health and quality of life of the nation, and is widely recognised as having been at the forefront of medicinal breakthroughs over the last 50 years.

Some of those discoveries include Viagra, the drug used to treat erectile dysfunction; Istin, the world's leading treatment for hypertension and angina; Diflucan and Vfend, which treat life-threatening systemic fungal infections and, more recently, CelsSentri, a promising advance in the war against Aids/HIV, as well as Dectomax, which treats parasites in cattle.

A spokesman for the RSC said: "Such discoveries are only possible by ensuring the highest level of research and development excellence. The long and consistent track record of the Pfizer, Sandwich, site is fully worthy of recognition under the Royal Society of Chemistry Chemical Landmark Award Scheme."

Dr Simon Campbell, who last week came 31st in the Times' Eureka 100 most important people in science is a former research leader at Pfizer and a past president of the RSC.  He said: "I am very pleased Pfizer has received such a well deserved Landmark. This award recognises the innovation and dedication of thousands of Pfizer scientists in the discovery and development of innovative new medicines which have brought significant benefit to millions of patients world wide."

Dr Campbell was also involved in the research teams that produced Cardura, also used to treat high blood pressure and angina, and Norvasc, for high blood pressure and prostate enlargement.

Rod McKenzie, Senior Vice President, Pfizer Research and Development said: "I am very proud to receive this award on behalf of Pfizer and our Sandwich site.  Sandwich has long been a chemistry powerhouse, built on the passion and desire of generations of outstanding scientists to change lives for the better.  It is a wonderful testament to the many groundbreaking contributions to medicine Sandwich has made over the site's 56 year history."  

Notes for editors

. The award will be given at around 11.30am. Photography will be available

. Chemical Landmarks are the Royal Society of Chemistry's official recognition of historical sites where important chemical breakthroughs have been made and are an RSC initiative to commemorate, emphasise and awaken public interest in historic developments in the chemical sciences.

. Sites that are awarded Chemical Landmark status have either played a major part in the development of chemical science or have seen a development of chemical science that has made a significant contribution to the health, wealth or quality of life of the nation.

. A maximum of four Chemical Landmarks plaques are awarded by the RSC per year.

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