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Report - - Sanofi-Aventis – Dagenham – January 2016 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Sanofi-Aventis – Dagenham – January 2016


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The History


Originally the site of May & Baker who were a British chemical company started by Mr. May and Mr. Baker in Wandsworth, London in 1851. They initially specialized in the manufacture of chemicals derived from Mercury and Bismuth. Over the years they diversified into other chemical fields including Photographic, Pharmaceuticals, Agrochemicals, and chemicals for Research and development.

The company was bought by Établissements Poulenc Frères (later to become Société des Usines Chimiques Rhône-Poulenc) in 1922, and subsequently moved to Dagenham, East London, although they continued to trade under the May & Baker name until the 1980s.

Post-war, May & Baker expanded into many countries round the world, particularly Commonwealth ones, and comprised three divisions, Pharmaceuticals, Fine Chemicals and Agrochemicals. The 1960s were a boom time for the company, unofficially known as 'the Brittox Years' after one of its world-leading agrochemicals. There were agrochemical manufacturing sites in Norwich, Manchester and Kent, a research station at Ongar in Essex and a Head Office at Regent House in nearby Brentwood.

The Agrochemical division also contained Environmental Products (amenity horticulture) and Garden Care (retail), the latter being sold to Pan Britannica Industries (Sumitomo Group) in 1991. A subsidiary, Hortichem, was based in Ongar.

In 1999 the company was split — the Dagenham site (now just Pharmaceuticals), merged with Hoechst and changed the company name to Aventis, and also instigated the loss of R&D at the site in July 2000.

Later on, a further merger with Sanofi-Synthélabo in 2004 changed the Dagenham site owner to Sanofi-Aventis.


Sanofi engages in theresearch and development, manufacturing and marketing ofpharmaceutical drugsprincipally in the prescription market, but the firm also developsover-the-counter medication. The company covers seven major therapeutic areas: cardiovascular,central nervous system,diabetes,internal medicine,oncology,thrombosisandvaccines.

In a shock announcement in 2011 Sanofi-Aventis' announced that the UK was to lose one of its flagship pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities site in Dagenham, Essex and it would close by the end of 2013.

Site director Laura O'Brien told Pharmafocus magazine that the news is very sad, particularly as Dagenham has been an operational pharmaceutical production facility for 75 years. The decision was taken because of a "significant decline" in demand for the drugs made there.

Sanofi had looked into the option of selling the plant but concluded this was not feasible as most of the equipment it houses will be moved to new locations within the Sanofi-Aventis manufacturing network.

Dagenham's main products were the cancer drugs Taxotere (docetaxel) and Eloxatin (oxaliplatin), along with some smaller products such as the iron deficiency anaemia treatment Ferrlecit (sodium ferric gluconate), which is not sold in the UK.

Manufacturing of the cancer products transferred to Sanofi’s facility in Frankfurt, Germany, with the first of around a dozen production lines dismantled and shipped to its new home in early 2011. Production of some products, including Ferrlecit, were transferred to Italy.

The site employed 457 staff, all of whom lost their jobs although some were offered the opportunity to move within the company. Some employees were able to transfer along with the products they were working on.

The company has already struck a deal with high-street chain Sainsbury to open a 400-staff supermarket and petrol station at the front of the factory, opposite Dagenham East Tube


The Explore

Having looked at this place before and hear rumours that it was dog patrolled and as tight as a tight thing I’d never given it a second glance. Silly me eh.

Whilst out mooching around with @slayaaaa we decided to go and have butchers and didn’t expect much. We approached the site as it was starting to get dark and thought we would chance the turnstile type entrance and erm well we just walked in. The second line of fencing was a little more complicated as the second turnstile was exit only. Hhmm so after a bit of a wander and a bit of head scratching we found a way into the complex and headed for the main building.

After finding our way into the main building and discovering that the power was on we made our way from room to room turning the lights on and off to grab the best pics we could.

The site itself it off the hook amazing. It’s completely untouched and mint, a proper everyone’s gone home and left it site. The laboratories are perfect and all the lights work in the inspection cabinets etc. One room was a bit freaky when we walked in and the lights came on on their own. Que a moment of slight panic lol

We eventually made our way to the roof and snapped a few pics from up there before leaving the site and heading home without seeing any sign of the so called expert secca.

As always enjoy the pics

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