Keata buys Pfizer's Canadian facility

By Staff Reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pfizer

PharmEng's subsidiary Keata Pharma is the new owner of Pfizer's
manufacturing facility in Arnprior, Canada, which the drug giant
has been trying to pass on for over a year.

Pfizer first announced its intention to sell the 85,000 sq. ft. facility in August last year as part of its multi-year review of manufacturing operations that began in 2003 following the company's acquisition of Pharmacia.

The decision to exit the site was described at the time as "part of an ongoing effort to align capacity with demand and improve the effectiveness and utilisation of Pfizer's global manufacturing network".

The acquisition would see Keata entering into supply agreements with Pfizer for the exclusive manufacture of certain Pfizer products for Canada at the facility for a period of three years.

Under the terms of the agreement, Keata will retain the facility's approximately 175 employees.

Financial details of the contract were not disclosed.

"We believe that this transaction provides PharmEng with benefits that enhance our manufacturing organisation and strengthens our strategic relationship with Pfizer," PharmEng chief executive Alan Kwong said in a statement.

At time of publishing, Pfizer had not released a statement on the acquisition.

The Arnprior site is one of three that Pfizer has located in Canada.

The Kirkland, Quebec, facility houses the Canadian headquarters of the company, while the Calgary, Alberta, site is the distribution centre for Pfizer Animal Health.

The Arnprior facility manufactures the drugs Aricept (donepezil), Norvasc (amlodipine), Celebrex (celecoxib), Champix (varenicline), Lipitor (atorvastatin), Viagra (sildenafil), and Viracept (nelfinavir).

The decision to exit from manufacturing at the site reflected the impact of Pfizer's major acquisitions since 2000, which produced an excess of manufacturing capacity worldwide.

As part of the 2003 manufacturing review, the company had originally announced plans to divest or close more than two-dozen plants globally, reducing the number of manufacturing facilities from 93 to 62.

This year, in the face of pending patent expiries, product safety issues and underperforming products, the company announced the number of manufacturing facilities would instead be slashed to 48 from 93, by the end of next year.

This would include the closure of five R&D sites and the relocation of projects amongst remaining facilities and external sites.

At the same time, Pfizer announced it would be reducing its staff by almost 10,000 - 10 per cent of its global workforce - in a bid to save $1bn by the end of 2008.

Keata also plans to manufacture product from the Arnprior facility for two other major pharmaceutical clients with multi-year supply contracts.

Further details of the acquisition will be announced at a later date.

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