The news that Pfizer is to cut up to 800 research jobs is likely to hit the drug giant’s fascility at Sandwich pretty hard and up to 240 posts could go at the Kent site.

That figure is based on Pfizer’s statement that over the next several months, it will reduce its global research staff by 5%-8% “to better align our colleague base”. Between 3,000-3,500 staff work at its European R&D facility in Sandwich.

Stephen Ladyman, Labour MP for South Thanet, told the Press Association that the job cuts was "disappointing news". He said that “we can ill afford to lose any quality jobs and I am saddened that a site that has made such a huge contribution to Pfizer's fortunes is again going to see job cuts. One job lost is one too many and each and every lost job will be a tragedy for the person and family affected."

Pfizer said yesterday that it “does not make these decisions lightly” and everyone affected “will be treated with utmost respect and will be offered appropriate financial, professional and personal support”. However the moves are necessary, the firm adds, as it is aims at “aggressively delivering the Phase II and Phase III portfolio”.