Police are investigating $700,000 of gold dust missing from a Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) medical research lab in Chesterfield, Mo., the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported last week.

Authorities told the newspaper that the loss became clear during inventory procedures and could be the result of theft or misplacement. The paper reported that dealers and refiners doubted the dust could be resold, if it has been stolen, because of the large amount and the form. 

Pfizer declined to detail how the metal was being used, but gold dust can be a part of nanotechnology research.

 "We are taking this matter very seriously and working closely with local law enforcement authorities on this ongoing investigation. It would be inappropriate for us to comment any further at this time until the police investigation has been completed," Pfizer said in a statement. "We use a variety of materials in the drug discovery process. This is just one of the materials we use in our proprietary research."


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