Pfizer to invest £411m in new US gene therapy manufacturing facility

Pfizer is set to invest an additional $500m (£411m) to build an advanced gene therapy manufacturing facility in Sanford, North Carolina, US.

The new facility is believed to support the company’s continuing investment in gene therapy research and development similar to its research and development sites in Chapel Hill and Kit Creek in North Carolina.

Pfizer Biopharmaceuticals Group president Angela Hwang said: “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.”

Pfizer’s expanded facility is expected to create around 300 new jobs in North Carolina, where it currently employs over 3,600 people.

The Sanford facility will also be used to produce components for Pfizer’s vaccine portfolio, including Prevnar 13 and other vaccines currently in the firm’s research pipeline.

Pfizer intends to strengthen its capacity to produce and supply both clinical and commercial-scale quantities of gene therapy medicines by expanding its manufacturing footprint in Sanford.

The new facility will also support the company to advance its work in manufacturing specialised one-time gene therapies, which use custom-made recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors.

The scientists at the Kit Creek facility work at a small scale, from 2L flasks up to 250L bioreactors, for the development of a process that may use in larger-scale manufacturing.

The process will be optimised at the Chapel Hill facility, where the Pfizer scientists continue to work at a 250L scale while implementing quality control measures.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said: “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.”

In May this year, the pharma giant announced the opening of a new 175,000ft² manufacturing facility in Andover, Massachusetts.

The Andover site has been constructed for the development and production of quality complex biologics and vaccines.

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