Pfizer is planning to keep on some 650 staff at its Sandwich facility in Kent, about 300 more than previously announced.

The company told PharmaTimes World News that 250 employees have moved to other sites in the UK. About 800 people have already left their posts at the re-named Sandwich Discovery Park - a further 700 will go by the end of 2012.

In February, Pfizer said the facility, which employed 2,400 people, would close but in June stated that 350 staff would be retained  to support the development of products in the mid- and late- stage pipeline. In the summer, the company said that its retained presence would help attract new investors and occupants to the site.

Annette Doherty, site leader, was quoted by the BBC as saying that "we hope there will be many other scientific companies that are also here with us and that there's a diverse set of businesses here at Discovery Park in the future".

Meantime, Pfizer has returned worldwide rights to Ablynx’s TNF-alpha targeting nanobodies following a portfolio review.

The rights returned to the Belgian biotech include those for ATN-103 (ozoralizumab) for rheumatoid arthritis, for which positive Phase II data was presented in May, and PF-05230905, which is in Phase I. In addition, Ablynx will obtain "certain Pfizer intellectual property and know-how" relating to the anti-TNF-alpha programmes and get access to existing clinical trial supplies of the two drugs.

In return, Ablynx will share with Pfizer up to $50 million in future milestone payments it may receive from other third-party deals related to the products, plus royalties on sales. The Ghent-based group had signed the original agreement with Wyeth (acquired in 2009 by Pfizer) in 2006.