Manufacturing Expansion to Europe, Pfizer Invests US$ 2.5 Billion

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NEW YORK. Pharmaceutical company from the United States (US), Pfizer Inc., invested more than US$ 2.5 billion in Belgian and Irish drug manufacturing plants. Pfizer is preparing to launch a new product that it hopes will make up for lost revenue due to expired patents and slumping sales of its Covid-19 vaccine.
One of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies said it plans to spend more than €1.2 billion (US$1.26 billion) to expand its factory in Puurs, Belgium, and invest in the factory. Dublin, Ireland.
Pfizer in a press release announced that several investment-related projects are already underway in Belgium. While others are planned to start early in 2023. At the Irish plant, expansion is expected to start in 2024 and be completed in 2027.
Efforts To Overcome The Pandemic
The Puurs plant plays a key role in the production of the COVID-19 shot developed by Pfizer with German partner BioNTech using messenger RNA (mRNA) technology. Production of the Covid-19 vaccine started at the end of 2020, when Europe and the US began to make efforts to contain the pandemic.
Pfizer's revenue is expected to reach US$ 100 billion this year. That estimate more than doubled pre-pandemic due to high sales of the Covid-19 vaccine and Paxlovid treatment.
However, sales related to Covid-10 are expected to fall sharply over the next few years. Pfizer also faces lost patent protection for several top-selling drugs after 2025, such as the cancer treatment Ibrance and the arthritis drug Xeljanz.
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The sizable investment and job creation in Europe comes at a critical time for the region as companies are struggling with soaring energy, labor, raw materials and debt costs, fueling fears of a recession.
The crisis has hit energy-intensive industries, such as fertilizers and chemicals. That encourages businesses to shift manufacturing to locations where energy is cheap, such as in the US. Drugmakers have also warned that energy costs risk undermining Europe's production of generic drugs to make the region more self-sufficient.
Pfizer hopes to introduce as many as 19 new drugs over the next year and a half, including treatments for ulcerative colitis and migraines, as well as its vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
The expansion in Ireland will add around 400 to 500 jobs. Pfizer will manufacture larger quantities of the drug substance at these sites by producing ingredients for biologic drugs and vaccines. In Belgium, Pfizer is expanding the capacity of its Puurs production line to finalize and package drug substance dosages.

Pfizer's Workforce Project
Meanwhile, the new projects will create an additional 250 jobs at the Belgian factory whose workforce has grown to 4,500 people from 2,800 before the pandemic.
Pfizer has also spent a lot of money expanding its production capacity in the US. The New York-based drugmaker has announced plans to expand its plants in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and McPherson, Kansas.
Pfizer also said it would spend nearly $1 billion to increase its ability to produce gene therapy at its Massachusetts and North Carolina sites.
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