One of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies has lost something very valuable. Around $700,000 in gold dust is missing from the Pfizer research facility in Chesterfield, Mo. Police were called to help investigate where the missing dust might have gone, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A employee inventory failed to produce the gold dust.
* Police told the Post-Dispatch, "We're not even sure if they just didn't account for it and it was used naturally, or if it was stolen or misplaced. Some of it is gone and some isn't."
* Experts interviewed by the media outlet say that much gold will weigh between 30 and 70 pounds, depending upon its purity. Selling anything that large will be hard to do in the St. Louis area now that an alert has been posted. Further complicating sellers of any stolen goods is that gold buyers know what to look for when investing in gold dust brought in by strangers.
* Pfizer bought the gold dust last year for $700,000. The value of the dust has risen around $100,000 since then.
* Pfizer has not commented as to why the pharmaceutical company needed the valuable substance in the first place. Mark Gibson, a St. Louis-area gold refiner, told the Post-Dispatch he has never heard of the pharmaceutical industry using gold dust for any research or manufacturing processes.
* KMOV reveals small amounts of gold dust are used in experiments at the Chesterfield facility. The dust was kept in an unlocked cabinet, according to police reports obtained by the media outlet. The disappearance occurred sometime between November 2011 and the end of last month.
* Historically, gold dust has been used in medications for inflamed joints. Dentists regularly create crowns for teeth using gold dust.
* One research project published in 2005 regarded the effects of gold sodium thiomalate on particular cells in the body. The project revolved around the effects of the drug on rheumatoid arthritis and was partially funded by Pfizer in Connecticut. The substance supposedly suppresses damage done by rheumatoid arthritis in juveniles and adults in early stages.
* In 2007, Britain's Daily Mail trumpeted research done by Rice University showing gold dust may be able to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy for cancer patients. The substance showed it reduced toxicity in cells that cause hair loss, nausea and secondary infections.
* Pfizer has three locations in St. Louis, including 545,000 square feet of research space.
William Browning, a lifelong Missouri resident, writes about local and state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Born in St. Louis, Browning earned his bachelor's degree in English from the University of Missouri. He currently resides in Branson.