Drugs Pharma

Pfizer to invest $1.26 billion in Belgium plant in European expansion plan

Pfizer Europe Expansion

HQ Team

December 5, 2022: Pfizer Inc. plans to invest 1.2 billion euros (($1.26 billion) in its plant in Belgium over the next three years to expand in Europe, according to a company statement. 

The announcement comes after Pfizer unveiled a 1.2 billion-euro plan earlier this month in Ireland to build a facility that will double its biological drug substance manufacturing capacity at the existing production site at Grange Castle, Dublin.

The investment in Belgium’s Puurs production facility will be in three areas: increased production capacity, expansion of cold storage options and packaging processes.

The expansion comes when Covid-19 vaccine sales are decreasing, and Pfizer’s top-selling drugs’ patents are about to expire or expire.

Chantix, a prescription drug that helps people stop smoking and generated sales of $919m in 2020, saw its US patent expire in 2020. The European equivalent of the drug passed in 2021. 

The cancer drug Sutent’s patent expired in 2021. Another cancer treatment drug Inlyta and an immunology drug Xeljanz will expire in the US in 2025, while Eliquis and others will start to expire in 2026.

Global supply network

“Our site in Puurs has played a critical role in the Pfizer Global Supply network for many years,” said Mike McDermott, chief Global Supply Officer and executive vice president of Pfizer.

“Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, this importance has only increased. After all, Pfizer Puurs played a crucial role in producing our Covid-19 vaccine, directly supporting our efforts to fight Covid-19 worldwide.”

Pfizer Puurs’ facility, which made Covid-19 vaccines, currently has 4,500 employees. “This investment will contribute to the fight against the pandemic and provide a large-scale platform for the development of new medicines and vaccines,” said Luc van Steewinkel, site leader of Pfizer.

Part of the investment will go into the construction and equipment of the new isolator facility centre with two production modules for additional filling capacity.

In addition, Pfizer Puurs is building a flexible freezer warehouse consisting of two freezer modules with independent temperature regulation for optimal cold storage.

The site is also expanding its centre for secondary packaging to add 16 more packaging cabins. Some projects are already underway, and others will start in early 2023.

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