Pfizer Invests $500 Million into Its Gene Therapy Facility

August 21, 2019

Pfizer is investing $500 million for the construction of a state-of-the-art gene therapy manufacturing facility in Sanford, NC.

On Aug. 21, 2019, Pfizer announced that it is investing an additional half billion-dollars for the construction of its state-of-the-art gene therapy manufacturing facility in Sanford, NC. The facility will support Pfizer’s continuing investment in gene therapy R&D, similar to Pfizer’s Chapel Hill and Kit Creek, NC, R&D sites.

Pfizer expects to strengthen its ability to produce and supply both clinical- and commercial-scale quantities of critical, potentially life-changing gene therapy medicines to patients living with rare diseases around the world with this expansion. Specifically, the new facility would help advance Pfizer’s work in manufacturing highly specialized, potentially one-time gene therapies that use custom-made recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors.

This facility would expand the company’s presence in North Carolina, where there are currently more than 3600 Pfizer colleagues, including 650 in Sanford. The expanded facility is projected to add approximately 300 new jobs.

“At Pfizer, our purpose is breakthroughs that change patients’ lives,” said Angela Hwang, group president, Pfizer Biopharmaceuticals Group, in a company press release. “We’re excited to build this new state-of-the-art facility in Sanford because it will have the potential to help us develop novel methods to deliver transformative treatments to patients.”

“This investment will further strengthen Pfizer’s leadership in gene therapy manufacturing technology,” said Mike McDermott, president, Pfizer Global Supply, in the press release. “The expansion of the Sanford site is expected to create hundreds of highly skilled jobs, which would increase Sanford’s high-tech manufacturing environment and is part of our overall plan to invest approximately $5 billion in US-based capital projects over the next several years.”

“North Carolina is a leader in life sciences in part because of our long-standing partnership with Pfizer. Today we mark another boost to our state and we are proud of the people conducting life-saving research in Sanford,” added North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper in the press release.

Expanding end-to-end capabilities

Pfizer is expanding its end-to-end capabilities in gene therapy in North Carolina by investing in facilities focused on all stages of research, development, and manufacturing. In the Kit Creek facility, scientists work at a small scale-from 2-L flasks up to 250-L bioreactors-to develop the process that may eventually be used in larger scale manufacturing. That process is optimized at the Chapel Hill facility, where Pfizer colleagues continue to work at a 250-L scale while implementing quality control measures included in good manufacturing practice standards. Pfizer’s focus on these processes, combined with its existing and new additional investment in Sanford to manufacture gene therapies, is designed deliver a high-quality, efficient supply of gene therapies at clinical- and commercial-scale.

In addition to gene therapy operations, colleagues at the Sanford facility also manufacture components for the company’s vaccine portfolio, including Prevnar 13 and several vaccines currently in Pfizer’s research pipeline.

Source: Pfizer