Pfizer goes to China for biologic drugs | July 4, 2016 Issue - Vol. 94 Issue 27 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 94 Issue 27 | p. 13 | News of The Week
Issue Date: July 4, 2016 | Web Date: June 30, 2016

Pfizer goes to China for biologic drugs

Planned $350 million facility will employ single-use bioreactors from GE
Department: Business
Keywords: biosimilars, China, biologics, single-use manufacturing
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A computer rendering of the biologics plant Pfizer is planning for China.
Credit: Pfizer
A computer rendering of the biologics plant Pfizer is planning for China.
 
A computer rendering of the biologics plant Pfizer is planning for China.
Credit: Pfizer

Pfizer plans to spend about $350 million on a facility in China dedicated to producing the generic biologic drugs known as biosimilars. The facility, Pfizer’s third biologics plant and its first in Asia, will employ modular, single-use bioreactors supplied by GE Healthcare.

The facility will include logistics and engineering operations, clinical-stage development operations, and commercial-scale biologics manufacturing. Although the company intends to serve global markets, it is particularly targeting China in the wake of government reforms that aim to bolster the pharmaceutical sector.

“We believe that the Pfizer Global Biotechnology Center in Hangzhou will help support China’s aim to increase the complexity and value of its manufacturing sector by 2025 and contribute to building a truly innovative and vibrant biopharmaceutical industry,” says John Young, president of Pfizer Essential Health.

The Chinese government issued guidelines for biologics manufacturing last year.

Pfizer says the KUBio single-use bioreactors to be supplied by GE will allow it to build the plant in half the time and at under half the cost of a biologics plant employing traditional stainless steel reactors. GE also claims the technology can accelerate speed to market by eliminating cleaning cycles. Carbon dioxide emissions and water and energy use are expected to be cut by up to 75%.

Similar advantages were claimed by Amgen and WuXi AppTec, which recently built large biologics plants based on single-use technology in Singapore and China, respectively. Pfizer is also using single-use bioreactors at a biologics plant it is building in Andover, Mass., to produce materials for clinical trials.

The Hangzhou facility is expected to open in 2018 and create about 150 jobs.

 
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