Wyeth Pharmaceuticals of Madison, New Jersey, has announced that it will discontinue all manufacturing operations at its vaccine plant in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Wyeth has operated in West Chester since the 1940s, when the company expanded with the acquisition of vaccine manufacturer Reichel Laboratories. Wyeth was one of only 22 companies to be selected by the U.S. government in 1944 to manufacture penicillin -- first for the armed forces and then for the general public. In 1950, the company began construction on a new facility located at its current site. Over the years, the plant's production capabilities were expanded to include the manufacture of non-penicillin products.After phasing out the manufacture of their own pharmaceutical products at West Chester in 2000, the company continued to operate at the site as a contract manufacturer for other pharmaceuticals firms, including both Baxter of Deerfield, Ill., and King of Bristol, Tenn. When the company announced its decision to close and sell the site, those companies secured new manufacturing arrangements. Citing contract manufacturing as not being in line with its core business strategy, as the reason for the plant closure, Wyeth intends to sell the site.For the approximately 200 employees at the West Chester plant, who stand to lose their jobs with the plant closure, the company has made available to them a variety of severance packages or the possibility of employment at other Wyeth locations. Wyeth operates two other sites in Pennsylvania. The company's global pharmaceutical headquarters in Collegeville and a research & development operation in Frazer. The company employs an estimated total of 5,000 people in the state.Wyeth Pharmaceuticals is the pharmaceutical division of Wyeth and has leading products in the areas of women's health care, cardiovascular disease, central nervous system, inflammation, hemophilia, oncology, and vaccines. The company's divisions include Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Wyeth Consumer Healthcare, and Fort Dodge Animal Health.