- Pfizer will shutter an Australian manufacturing plant by 2021 that is responsible for making part of a copycat drug that could have big returns for the company.
- Located in the South Australia city of Adelaide, the facility has a staff of 89 and came under Pfizer's ownership after the company bought Hospira for $17 billion in early 2015. The site produces just one product, an intermediate of a biosimilar to Amgen's Neulasta (pegfilgrastim), which is taken following chemotherapy to boost white blood cell counts.
- "As part of the integration of Hospira into the business, we conducted a thorough evaluation of the combined manufacturing network to ensure that overall capacity is most effectively utilized relative to projected product demands. As a result of this evaluation, we have made the decision to exit the legacy Hospira plant," a company spokesman said.
Pfizer's decision is an about-face from almost a year ago, when the company announced it would spend AUD$21 million (USD$16 million) to give the Adelaide facility a technology face-lift and "secure 100 hi-tech jobs and contribute to global cancer treatment."
"The upgrade not only secures 100 local hi-tech manufacturing jobs, but will provide work for local manufacturing contractors managing the development and local tradespeople contributing to the highly complex and advanced fit-out," Jack Snelling, South Australia's health industries minister, said in a March 2016 statement.
"This investment will establish the Adelaide site as an innovative manufacturing plant and the largest biologic medicine manufacturer of its type in Australia," Snelling added at the time.
This isn't the first time Pfizer has revised plans to expand manufacturing operations. In November, the drugmaker slimmed down plans to further build out its Dublin-based Grange Castle plant in an expansion slated to cost €400 million ($424 million). Pfizer made that decision after shelving further clinical aspirations for cholesterol drug bococizumab.
Operations at the Adelaide site will continue through 2021, the Pfizer spokesman said. Additionally, "a number of colleagues [will stay] on for a few months after closure to close down the site."