Pfizer adds $19m plant in NC clinical gene therapy shake-up

Pfizer will relocate clinical manufacturing activities from its Chapel Hill site to a newly acquired facility nearby in the latest ramp up of its North Carolina gene therapy capabilities.

This week, big biopharma firm Pfizer acquired a piece of land and newly constructed building at 1219 Shiloh Glenn Drive, North Carolina – about 2 miles west of Raleigh-Durham International airport – set to become a center of clinical manufacturing for its gene therapy programs.

Pfizer confirmed the news first broken by FiercePharma’s Eric Palmer, and told Bioprocess Insider the building will be retrofitted into an Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product (ATMP) facility and will incorporate clinical manufacturing activities from its nearby Chapel Hill plant.

Image: iStock/selensergen

The Chapel Hill site was added to Pfizer’s gene therapy arsenal through the $150 million (€136 million) acquisition of Bamboo Therapeutics in 2016, and while the site has been a major contributor to Pfizer’s gene therapy progress, the firm says relocation to the new site will allow the continuation and expansion of clinical manufacturing operations when the current lease expires.

Once operational in early 2022, the site will double Pfizer’s current gene therapy manufacturing capacity and house two GMP drug substance suites, a single drug product suite, solution and media prep, as well as analytical laboratories.

It will also house around 120 scientific and support staff, though the workforce will expand products move through the pipeline. Total cost of the site design of the new facility is $19 million, we were told.

The news comes weeks after the firm announced plans at another nearby site in Sanford, North Carolina to build a $500 million facility to support production of recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors for use in gene therapies and vaccines.

Read more: Pfizer pumps $500m into NC gene therapy site