- Pfizer on Monday announced plans to invest $120 million in a drug manufacturing facility located in Kalamazoo, Michigan, which will lead to the creation of over 250 jobs.
- The investment is aimed at accelerating production of Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill Paxlovid, demand for which has risen after Pfizer's initial struggles to make sufficient quantities following the drug's clearance in December. To date, Pfizer has delivered 12 million courses of the drug across 37 countries, 5 million of which have been shipped to the U.S.
- The Kalamazoo plant, one of Pfizer’s largest drugmaking sites, will make the starting materials and active ingredient contained within Paxlovid. The new investment expands the site’s capacity, making it one of the world’s largest producers of pharmaceutical ingredients, according to Pfizer.
Pfizer’s investment is a response to booming demand for Paxlovid as COVID-19 infections, which reached a recent low in the U.S. in March, have gradually climbed once again.
In prior surges, the U.S. relied on injectable or infused antibody drugs to help prevent COVID-19 hospitalizations or deaths. But the omicron variant made treatments from Eli Lilly and Regeneron ineffective, upping the need for Pfizer's pill, which hasn't had the same issues.
Last year, the Biden administration acquired 10 million courses of Paxlovid and in April pledged to secure upwards of 20 million more. However, supply was scarce in the early stages of the drug’s rollout, and doses weren't always easy to find or to access.
Use of Paxlovid has grown in recent months, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services and now Pfizer is responding with plans to boost manufacturing.
The $120 million investment will help produce the active ingredient as well as starting materials involved in one of two key components of Paxlovid. (Treatment consists of tablets of an antiviral compound Pfizer invented and tablets of ritonavir, a generic HIV drug that helps the body's metabolism of Paxlovid.)
The investment will also mean the addition of more than 250 positions at the Kalamazoo site, which plays a key role in the manufacturing of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine. The site has produced nearly 1 billion doses of the shot to date, Pfizer said.
The company additionally aims to expand a separate Kalamazoo facility that produces sterile injectable drugs, adding onto a previous $450 million investment.
Pfizer expects to make $22 billion from sales of Paxlovid this year.