Pfizer will invest a half-billion dollars in the construction of its state-of-the-art gene therapy manufacturing facility in Sanford, North Carolina.
According to company officials, this facility is anticipated to support Pfizer’s continuing investment in gene therapy research and development, similar to Pfizer’s Chapel Hill and Kit Creek, North Carolina research and development sites.
This facility would expand the company’s presence in North Carolina, where there are currently more than 3,600 Pfizer colleagues, including 650 in Sanford. The expanded facility is projected to add approximately 300 new jobs, officials said.
In addition to its gene therapy operations, colleagues at Pfizer’s Sanford facility also manufacture components for the company’s vaccine portfolio, including Prevnar 13 and several vaccines currently in Pfizer’s research pipeline.
By expanding its manufacturing footprint in Sanford, Pfizer said it 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. 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.
“At Pfizer, our purpose is breakthroughs that change patients’ lives,” said Angela Hwang, Group President, Pfizer Biopharmaceuticals Group. “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. “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 U.S.-based capital projects over the next several years.”
In addition, Pfizer noted it 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 2L flasks up to 250L 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 250L scale while implementing quality control measures included in GMP, or Good Manufacturing Practice, standards.
“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,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.