Pfizer is to close its R&D facility in Kent, England, with the loss of 2,400 jobs.
The closure, which is expected to take place over the next two years, is part of plans to refine the R&D programme of the pharmaceutical company.
The site is involved in Pfizer's allergy and respiratory business – a therapeutic area Pfizer intends to exit. The company said it hoped several hundred of the employees affected by the job cuts would transfer to other sites or affiliate companies.
Pfizer had previously announced worldwide job losses of 6,000 to be made before the end of 2015 following the company's acquisition of Wyeth in 2009, with intentions to streamline all aspects of the business.
Dr Ruth McKernan, senior vice president and site head at the facility in Sandwich said: "It is with a deep sense of sadness that we announce our proposal to exit our site in Sandwich, Kent.
"We recognise that this is a difficult time for colleagues and the community and our priority now, and over the coming weeks and months, is to support our people through this process.”
Vince Cable, Secretary of State for the UK's Department of Business, Innovation and Skills described Pfizer's decisions as "extremely disappointing" and said he would be establishing a local taskforce along with Kent County Council to deal with the effect on the community.
Cable also expressed his wish for the facility's research capabilities to remain in use: "We will also be meeting with Pfizer, other key companies and local representatives as a matter of urgency to discuss innovative ideas for continuing R&D activities in this very well-equipped facility, and how the key strands of the R&D portfolio based at Sandwich can best engage with academic teams across the UK who have the potential to drive forward the most innovative areas of UK bioscience."
Pfizer also announced its financial results for 2010 today, with revenue up 36 per cent.