Pfizer adding $200M biologics facility to Andover, MA, campus

Pfizer is joining a host of its peers in preparing for the biologic drugs and vaccines it expects to launch in the future. The drugmaker is building a $200 million biologics manufacturing plant in the U.S. in anticipation.

The drugmaker said Thursday that it has broken ground on a 175,000 square-foot facility at its campus in Andover, MA, that will allow it to produce complex biologics and vaccines. The 5-story facility will have 5 independent manufacturing suites with flexible design, using single-use bioreactors and disposable process technologies. The new facility is expected to be operational by January 2019, the company said in an announcement, and Pfizer plans to add about 75 employees to work there.

There are already 1,200 employees working at Pfizer’s Andover campus, which currently includes 7 buildings housing laboratories, clinical and commercial manufacturing suites, and support areas. Pfizer said it also includes a multi-product manufacturing facility, which can handle production of both clinical and commercial products simultaneously.

“Andover is a crucial part of our global footprint for both clinical and commercial manufacturing, and we believe it provides an attractive location for growth in the coming years,” John Ludwig, a Pfizer senior VP said in a statement.

Many new drugs are cell-based and the industry is going through a significant expansion to prepare for manufacturing these large-molecule treatments. For example, rare disease drug specialist Shire ($SHPG) in April announced it would spend about $400 million to erect a biologics plant in Ireland. Bristol-Myers Squibb recently last month opened a $280 million, 200,000-square-foot clinical manufacturing building and a biologics development building at its Devens, MA, campus, adding about 200 jobs in the process.

Boehringer Ingelheim last year said it would spend about €500 million ($550 million) to erect a large-scale biopharmaceutical production facility in Vienna to produce active ingredients using cell cultures. It said it expects the plant to be open in 2021 and will add about 400 jobs to the site.

- here’s the announcement

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