Pri­vate in­vest­ment firm snaps up Pfiz­er fa­cil­i­ty in West­ern Aus­tralia

Bridgewest Group, a pri­vate in­vest­ment firm, has signed a de­fin­i­tive agree­ment to pur­chase Pfiz­er’s ster­ile in­jectable fa­cil­i­ty in the town of Bent­ley, Aus­tralia, a sub­urb of Perth.

Ac­cord­ing to the group, the fa­cil­i­ty is ap­proved to sup­ply around 90 coun­tries with drug prod­ucts and has the OK from sev­er­al reg­u­la­tors in­clud­ing the FDA. The fa­cil­i­ty al­so has “ex­ten­sive” blow fill seal ca­pa­bil­i­ties for man­u­fac­tur­ing in­jecta­bles and op­er­a­tions to make on­col­o­gy drugs as well. Bridgewest will be ac­quir­ing sev­er­al drug prod­ucts from Pfiz­er to make and sell glob­al­ly, al­though the spe­cif­ic prod­ucts were not dis­closed.

In an email to End­points News, a Bridgewest spokesper­son ex­plained why the firm pur­chased the fa­cil­i­ty:

We see con­sid­er­able de­mand and op­por­tu­ni­ties in the sec­tor. The Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment has said they are ex­treme­ly sup­port­ive of in­vest­ment in phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing which has cer­tain­ly made Aus­tralian com­pa­nies, like this one, at­trac­tive in­vest­ments. Aus­tralian sci­ence and re­search ca­pa­bil­i­ties are world-class. We look for­ward to en­gag­ing with the Gov­ern­ment to fur­ther sup­port our in­vest­ment pro­gram in Aus­tralia.

While the com­pa­ny did not dis­close the pur­chas­ing price, it is plan­ning on mak­ing “sig­nif­i­cant” cap­i­tal in­vest­ments in­to the Bent­ley plant. The 380 mem­bers of staff will al­so be giv­en the of­fer to come over to the new own­er­ship. The com­pa­ny is al­so work­ing on get­ting man­u­fac­tur­ing con­tracts and de­vel­op­ing a name for the plant. In a state­ment, Bridgewest COO Adam Gick­ling ex­pect­ed the sale to close in sev­er­al months.

How­ev­er, the plant had la­bor ac­tion oc­cur in Au­gust as em­ploy­ees who be­longed to Aus­tralia’s Unit­ed Work­ers Union walked off for 24 hours in protest of what the union saw as a sub­stan­dard pay of­fer for work­ers when it was owned by Pfiz­er. The Bridgewest spokesper­son stat­ed that any­thing re­lat­ed to that is cur­rent­ly be­ing man­aged by Pfiz­er.

The move from Bridgewest al­so comes as Pfiz­er was plan­ning to shut­ter the doors on the site. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port from the Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Com­pa­ny, Pfiz­er was plan­ning to stop man­u­fac­tur­ing next year and close the site of­fi­cial­ly in 2024, cost­ing around 470 em­ploy­ees their jobs.

This is al­so not Bridgewest’s first for­ay in­to ac­quir­ing Aus­tralian man­u­fac­tur­ing sites. In 2020, the firm ac­quired a man­u­fac­tur­er in the city of Ade­laide, Aus­tralia which now op­er­ates un­der the name of BioCi­na. How­ev­er, the Bent­ley ac­qui­si­tion is a sep­a­rate and dis­tinct busi­ness from BioCi­na.

The Bent­ley plant isn’t the on­ly man­u­fac­tur­ing site in the land down un­der to be snapped up by a pri­vate group. API and ther­a­peu­tic man­u­fac­tur­er Luina Bio, now known as Acur­aBio, based in the Bris­bane sub­urb of Dar­ra, Aus­tralia, was bought by Am­per­sand Cap­i­tal Part­ners, a pri­vate eq­ui­ty firm that has ex­pe­ri­ence in the CD­MO are­na, and by Glenn Haifer, a biotech in­vestor and chair­man of the board at Luina.

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Since losing a controversial court case over orphan drug exclusivity last year, the FDA’s Office of Orphan Products Development has remained entirely silent on orphan exclusivity for any product approved since last November, leaving many sponsors in limbo on what to expect.

That silence means that for more than 70 orphan-designated indications for more than 60 products, OOPD has issued no public determination on the seven-year orphan exclusivity in the Orange Book, and no new listings of orphan exclusivity appear in OOPD’s searchable database, as highlighted recently by George O’Brien, a partner in Mayer Brown’s Washington, DC office.

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Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News

As mon­ey pours in­to dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tics, in­sur­ance cov­er­age crawls



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Matt Gline, Roivant Sciences CEO (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for GLG)

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