By Alan Dronsfield

This pharmaceutical firm, where several world famous drugs were discovered, was awarded with a Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) blue landmark plaque on 15 October 2010. The prize was in recognition of more than half a century of discoveries carried out by one of the UK’s leading companies, Pfizer. Its European research headquarters site is located in Sandwich, Kent. The company is widely recognised as having been at the forefront of many medicinal breakthroughs over the last fifty 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.

In making the award, 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 only a week earlier had been designated as thirty-first in the Times‘ “Eureka list of the 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.

The plaque was presented on behalf of the RSC by their immediate past president, Professor Dave Garner. 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 fifty-six year history.

This was adapted from a Royal Society for Chemistry press release prepared by Paul Gallagher, Media Relations Executive.