Pfizer finds buyer for Australian plant that it planned to close next year

Two years after acquiring a Pfizer biologics plant in Adelaide, Australia, Bridgewest Group has bought up another Pfizer manufacturing facility in the country.

The San Diego-based investment firm has agreed to purchase a sterile injectables site near Perth. The facility has extensive blow, fill, seal capabilities and supplies products—including specialty oncology drugs—to more than 90 countries.

Two years ago, Pfizer said it had plans to wrap up operations at the site by the end of 2023, endangering its 470 employees.

“The team and systems in Perth are world-class, and the opportunity for growth is huge,” Masood Tayebi, CEO of Bridgewest, said in a release. “The Australian government has been extremely proactive in providing incentives to attract pharmaceutical manufacturing investment in the country.” 

As part of the deal, Bridgewest also will gain an undisclosed group of drugs from the Pfizer. The company plans to “aggressively” market the products in a bid to grow market share, it said.

Additionally, it will supply other products to Pfizer under a manufacturing and supply agreement, Bridgewest said.

When Bridgewest made its buy in 2020 of the Adelaide facility, its plan was to expand its contract development and manufacturing business. It also announced its intention to add mammalian cell production and cell and gene therapy capabilities in addition to growing microbial and vaccine manufacturing capacity.

Bridgewest operates the Adelaide plant under the name BioCina. As it has added new clients around the world, the facility’s employee head count has grown by 30%, according to Bridgewest.

The Perth operation will remain a separate entity, not aligned with the business in Adelaide, the company said.

The Adelaide plant, which was established in 2003, became part of Pfizer’s manufacturing network following its $17 billion acquisition of Hospira. The facility was designated for closure in 2017 following a restructing.

For its part, Bridgewest in 2005 expanded into the life sciences industry with the founding of BioDuro-Sudia. Several other companies are now in the portfolio including BioAtla, BioOra, Bio4t2, BioViros, Avasa, Precision Chroma and Nanophage Technologies, the company said.