Bridgewest gains CDMO biz through Pfizer pegfilgrastim plant buy

Bridgewest Group will manufacture products for previous owner Pfizer among others after acquiring a microbial manufacturing plant in Adelaide, Australia.

Bridgewest Group has made numerous investments in life sciences companies, but the acquisition of the Pfizer facility in Adelaide by subsidiary Bridgewest Australia Holdings marks the first expansion into the contract biologics space.

Previous investments include antibody developer BioAtla and third-party pharma services firm BioDuro.

Image: iStock/ChristianBunyipAlexander

According to Ian Wisenberg, CEO of Bridgewest Australia Biotech, the biologics contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) space is “a major growth area that we recognized that was missing when we were operating BioDuro and would have been rolled into BioDuro if we still operated it and could still be an opportunity when we demonstrate the viability of this site as a CDMO.”

Bridgewest sold its majority interest in BioDuro to Advent International in Jan 2019, Wisenberg told us. (BioDuro has since launched various biologics service offerings).

The Adelaide site boasts a 750 L microbial fermenter. It was established in 2003 and joined the Pfizer network following Pfizer’s $17 billion acquisition of Hospira in 2015.

Shortly after adding the site, Pfizer said it would invest $21 million into an expansion after securing a lease on land next to its existing plant to support production of pegfilgrastim, a biosimilar of Amgen’s Neulasta, used to prevent infection in patients undergoing chemotherapy. Pfizer’s pegfilgrastim received US FDA approval in June under the brand name Nyvepria.

Pfizer subsidiary Hospira Adelaide Pty Ltd will continue to operate the facility under a leaseback arrangement from Bridgewest Australia Real Estate until Q3 of 2021, we were told, at which time Bridgewest will assume full operational responsibility for the facility and 100 or so staff.

“Pfizer will be using about 10% of the capacity through Sep 2021,” Wisenberg said.

Financial details were not divulged, but Wisenberg said Bridgewest plans to grow the facility and the utilization at the site. Furthermore, the firm says it will invest in operational expansion, including adding capabilities around mammalian cell production, and cell and gene therapy production.