Mexico's Neolpharma snags Pfizer Puerto Rico plant

Pfizer has unloaded the second of two plants in Puerto Rico that it had on a list to be closed this year, this one to Mexican drugmaker Neolpharma.

Neolpharma plans to keep on the 130 employees and even add another 60 temporarily, Fox News reports, citing a report in the Mexican newspaper El Nuevo Dia. The 1.4 million-square-foot plant is in the San Juan suburb of Caguas. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. According to El Nuevo Dia, privately owned Neolpharma has about 1,500 employees and produces central nervous system drugs as well as heart and cancer treatments.

Pfizer ($PFE) still has a plant for sale in Carolina, Puerto Rico, that makes injectable drugs. The two plants in Puerto Rico were among 8 around the world that Pfizer said in May 2010 it would close as it absorbed the assets of Wyeth, which it bought the year before for $68 billion.

Separately, Pfizer announced in May that it would sell a 270,000-square-foot plant in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, to Galen Holdings. That plant previously produced, among other drugs, the women's health products Galen had picked up from Pfizer in 2011. Galen took on the 300 employees working at that plant. Galen bought the plant to take over production of products that were produced by contract manufacturers but agreed to continue to make some Pfizer products until Pfizer transfers them to other plants.

Avoiding the closure of the Pfizer plant in Caguas is the second piece of substantial news for the Puerto Rico drug manufacturing industry recently. The drug manufacturing hub has been struggling in recent years as Big Pharma has evaluated its production needs in the face of declining sales. However, Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) recently said it would invest $225 million in plants there, most of it for expansion of production for its Janssen Pharmaceuticals division.

- get the Fox News story
- here's the original El Nuevo Dia story
- read the Galen release from May

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