Pfizer invests $200m in conjugation, pegylation and QC at Ireland plant

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pfizer

Pfizer says investment in Irish manufacturing facility will boost vaccine conjugation and pegylation capacity and establish a new QC testing hub.

The US drug giant has committed $200m (€145m) to expand vaccine conjugate manufacturing capacity at the plant in Grange Castle, near Clondalkin, Co Dublin, which it hopes will be fully operational next autumn.

Spokeswoman Geraldine O’Connor told the move “will allow Grange Castle to become the primary site of manufacture for Prevenar 13​,” a​pneumococcal 13-valent conjugate vaccine that it gained when it bought Wyeth.

A core focus of the investment, which has created 400 construction jobs, will be the expansion of the site’s syringe fill/finish suite The US drug giant will also build a new production and processing unit for pegylated products, including Macugen and Somavert.

Quality control role

The investment will also see the plant assume a greater role in Pfizer’s manufacturing quality infrastructure according to O’Connor.

Grange Castle will expand its role as a centre for quality control analytical testing. Release testing for multiple new and existing products will be consolidated within Grange Castle throughout 2011 and 2012.

“New equipment will be introduced into Grange Castle laboratories. Finally, Grange Castle will become the centre for Cell Bank storage within the Pfizer Biotech network. This will involve the construction of a dedicated cell bank storage facility, which will become operational in Q1 2012​.”

News of the investment follows just months after Pfizer said it would be moving the production of small batches of biologic drug candidates to Grange Castle from the facility in Shanbally, Cork that it sold to BioMarin.

The Grange Castle site's increased role in QC is also in keeping with the 'aggressive' plan to make greater use of process analytical technologies (PAT) and quality by design (QbD) that Pfizer outlined last month​.

At the time the firm said the idea is to employ PAT and QbD in its manufacturing operations to move closer to real time release (RTR), enabling it to bring products to market more rapidly.

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