Pfizer stops buildout of $350M Seagen plant, leaving 120 workers' roles in question

When Pfizer completed its $43 billion buyout of Seagen in December, CEO Albert Bourla said that the New York pharma giant was not just gaining the Seattle biotech’s “golden eggs,” but instead was “acquiring the goose that laid the golden eggs.”

Less than three months later, it’s clear that the goose did not include Seagen’s ambitious manufacturing facility under construction, 13 miles north of its current headquarters.

Pfizer has confirmed a report over the weekend from the Puget Sound Business Journal that it is shutting down construction of the 270,000-square-foot facility in a business park in Everett.

Seagen had embarked on the manufacturing project to reduce its reliance on contract manufacturers for supplies of its commercial and clinical products in its deep oncology pipeline.

“Pfizer regularly evaluates our manufacturing network to ensure capacity is effectively utilized based on projected product demands. After careful evaluation, we have made the difficult decision to wind down construction of the site,” Pfizer said in a statement.

Seagen’s 120 employees who were working on the initial setup of the new site “will be impacted,” Pfizer said. The company will “make every effort” to place them in open roles at Seagen’s headquarters in Bothell, according to a spokesperson.

Pfizer’s plan is to manufacture Seagen’s commercial products at its huge facility in Sanford, N.C., which is undergoing expansion. Clinical production of Seagen’s pipeline drugs will take place at other sites in Pfizer’s network, it said.

Seagen revealed its plan to build the $350 million manufacturing site in April of 2022 to gain “greater control and flexibility over the production of its medicines to treat cancer,” the company said at the time.

Seagen leased the facility in 2021 and signed a $215 million deal with a contractor in August of 2022, according to Everett-based HeraldNet. Seagen targeted completion of the site by the end of this year and said it would house 200 workers.

When Pfizer completed its acquisition, it announced a reorganization where it develops and commercializes oncology drugs under a separate division led by Chris Boshoff, M.D., Ph.D., the company’s former R&D chief.