Pfizer amps up gene therapy manufacturing with another North Carolina facility

Rendering of Pfizer gene therapy facility
Already working on this new commercial production facility in Sanford, North Carolina, for its gene therapy programs, Pfizer now says it has bought a building in nearby Durham for consolidating production of its gene therapy clinical supplies. (Pfizer)

With momentum building in Pfizer’s gene therapy programs, the drugmaker is laying the foundation for stepped-up manufacturing of clinical supplies and commercial-scale product. In its latest move, Pfizer has bought land and a finished building in North Carolina where it will consolidate its clinical gene therapy production.

Pfizer paid about $19 million for the land and building near the intersection of I-40 and I-540 in Durham, North Carolina. It will start construction on retrofitting it next year and expects to complete the work in 2022, at about the same time the lease expires on its current clinical supply facility in Chapel Hill. Pfizer acquired that facility via its 2016 Bamboo Therapeutics deal. 

RELATED: Pfizer adds $500M to gene therapy manufacturing plant where it will hire 300 workers

The new operation in Durham, called the Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product (ATMP) facility, will double Pfizer’s clinical manufacturing capacity in gene therapy and will include two drug substance suites, a single drug product suite and labs. The company hasn’t said how many people will be employed when it opens, but the building is equipped for up to 120 scientists and staff. The company says it will be adding employees as needed. 

The New York drugmaker is already hard at work building and expanding its commercial production facilities for its gene therapies. Last month, it said it would plow another $500 million into a manufacturing plant in Sanford, North Carolina, for commercial production of gene therapies and hire another 300 workers there. The half-billion dollar investment is on top of $100 million it committed to the Sanford site in 2017. 

Pfizer has several programs for possible genetic cures it is shepherding through its pipeline, including one with partner Sangamo Therapeutics for treating hemophilia A and another for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.