Dow Chemical has agreed to lease a Collegeville, Pa., R&D facility owned, and once operated, by Pfizer. Some 800 researchers will begin the move from Dow’s current site in Spring House, Pa., in the first quarter of 2013. The labs are about 17 miles apart in Montgomery County. Pfizer ended research operations at Collegeville in 2010 as part of an R&D consolidation after its 2009 purchase of Wyeth. That year, the company laid off 450 workers in Collegeville, although the firm’s specialty care unit is still based there.
Dow, meanwhile, acquired the Spring House facility in 2009 when it purchased Rohm and Haas, which had opened the labs in 1963. Since the acquisition, the facility has started to support Dow businesses such as performance plastics and Dow AgroSciences. Dow says the 750,000-sq-ft Collegeville facility offers a substantial increase in lab and pilot-plant space that can better accommodate future growth in research operations. “Dow did a comprehensive feasibility study and found it would be cost-prohibitive to upgrade the Spring House facility rather than customize Collegeville,” a Dow spokeswoman tells C&EN.Is this a harbinger of a shift away from the glamour days of pharma back to chemical manufacturing? One wonders if new PhDs would rather not work in pharma, these days.