Pfiz­er inks deal to snatch Abzena's new North Car­oli­na man­u­fac­tur­ing site

Pfiz­er has scored it­self a brand new man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ty in San­ford, NC, about 40 miles south of the bustling Re­search Tri­an­gle Park.

The phar­ma gi­ant inked a deal to ac­quire Abzena’s man­u­fac­tur­ing plant, which boasts “ex­ten­sive ca­pa­bil­i­ties” for the pro­duc­tion of bi­o­log­ics drug sub­stance, the com­pa­nies an­nounced on Tues­day. While they’re keep­ing the fi­nan­cial fig­ures un­der wraps for now, Pfiz­er said the deal is ex­pect­ed to close this quar­ter.

Con­struc­tion is on­go­ing at the lo­ca­tion, which Abzena se­lect­ed back in April 2021 for its “ac­cess to a tal­ent­ed work­force and oth­er re­sources.” Abzena said at the time that the new fa­cil­i­ty would cost more than $200 mil­lion and cre­ate about 325 jobs in San­ford.

While just 100 em­ploy­ees work there now, Pfiz­er ex­pects to bring that num­ber up to about 300 by 2025, bring­ing its to­tal North Car­oli­na work­force to around 4,500, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease. The phar­ma gi­ant has poured $5 bil­lion in­to its US man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties over the last five years, in­clud­ing $1.4 bil­lion in North Car­oli­na.

Mike Mc­Der­mott

“Bi­o­log­ics con­tin­ue to be an in­te­gral part of Pfiz­er’s pipeline and this ac­qui­si­tion will ex­pand our re­search, clin­i­cal and com­mer­cial man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­i­ty and help us ac­cel­er­ate the de­vel­op­ment of our pipeline prod­ucts as well as sup­port our Pfiz­er Cen­tre­One cus­tomers,” said Pfiz­er’s ex­ec­u­tive VP and chief glob­al sup­ply of­fi­cer Mike Mc­Der­mott said in the re­lease.

Abzena and Pfiz­er’s Cen­tre­One con­tract man­u­fac­tur­ing unit will col­lab­o­rate on bi­o­log­ics go­ing for­ward, the com­pa­nies said.

The San­ford fa­cil­i­ty was Abzena’s on­ly site in North Car­oli­na, though the San Diego-based com­pa­ny lists oth­er lo­ca­tions in Cal­i­for­nia, Penn­syl­va­nia and the UK.

The new fa­cil­i­ty is near Pfiz­er’s ex­ist­ing Rocky Mount and San­ford man­u­fac­tur­ing sites, Mc­Der­mott not­ed, and close to a buzzy biotech hub. Just last month, Catal­ent un­veiled plans to build a new bi­o­log­ics an­a­lyt­i­cal cen­ter in Durham, NC. And in No­vem­ber, Fu­ji­film Irvine Sci­en­tif­ic an­nounced its par­ent com­pa­ny Fu­ji­film is dump­ing $188 mil­lion in­to a cell cul­ture me­dia man­u­fac­tur­ing site in Re­search Tri­an­gle Park.

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