Pfizer invests $350m in global biotechnology centre in China

US drugmaker aims to advance its leading position in biosimilars manufacturing

Pfizer is building a new Global Biotechnology Centre in China

Pfizer will invest approximately $350m in the development of a state-of-the-art Global Biotechnology Centre in China.

The US drugmaker announced the plans at a ground-breaking ceremony held in the Hangzhou Economic Development Area (HEDA).

The new facility will be Pfizer’s third biotechnology centre globally and the first in Asia. The firm said it would 'ensure the local production of high-quality, affordable biosimilar medicines that will benefit patients both in China and throughout the world'.

The centre will house Pfizer China’s Biosimilars and Biologics Quality, Technical Service, Logistics and Engineering divisions, in addition to commercial manufacturing, and will also serve as a process development and clinical supply site.

The facility, which is expected to be completed in 2018, will include an advanced modular KUBio facility from GE Healthcare, based on flexible single-use bio-manufacturing technology. This is said to increase speed-to-market and manufacturing flexibility at costs of between 25–50% of equivalent traditional facilities in a build time that can be just 18 months compared with the standard three years. Carbon dioxide emissions, water and energy usage can also be reduced by 75%.

The new centre will ensure the local production of high-quality, affordable biosimilar medicines

'GE’s KUBio modular factories allow biopharmaceutical companies to get their products to market quickly so they can respond rapidly to local healthcare needs. KUBio’s modular construction and single-use technologies, coupled with GE’s deep expertise in bioprocessing design, enable speed and increased productivity at global GMP standards wherever they are needed,' said Kieran Murphy, CEO & President, GE Healthcare Life Sciences.

More than 150 jobs will be created at the centre and local biotechnology expertise established to help strengthen and promote innovation as well as modernise China’s biopharmaceutical industry.

'We believe that the Pfizer Global Biotechnology Centre 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,' said John Young, Group President, Pfizer Essential Health.

'We are encouraged by a series of important reforms introduced by Chinese government that will further stimulate the industry to meet emerging health challenges, such as the rising incidence of non-communicable diseases and an ageing population; as well as attract both domestic and foreign investment in healthcare and R&D.'

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