Sanofi’s Dagenham plant seeks to revive its innovation heritage

Marc Sidwell
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FRENCH drugmaker Sanofi has received planning permission to revitalise its once-celebrated East London manufacturing plant, set to close in 2013. The site in Dagenham currently employs 450 staff. The new plans, backed by the Mayor of London’s office, hope to create 2,500 new jobs.

The plant opened in 1934 and developed a national reputation for pharmaceutical innovation. The site won the Queens Award for Industry three times and carries a Chemical Landmark plaque, one of only 37 in the UK. Its breakthroughs include drugs that saved thousands of lives in World War II. However, it ceased research and development work in 2000.

The new plans are intended to restore some of Dagenham’s research heritage to life. One of the regeneration experts working on the project, Tim Metson of SOG, 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.” He added “Our plan is to offer them to other scientific businesses where they can be adapted for a multitude of R&D projects”.

The planning proposal also includes a dental school, hotel, supermarket and 54 acre park.