Pfizer Continues $190 Million Expansion Plans in North Carolina

Pfizer Continues $190 Million Expansion Plans in North Carolina February 21, 2017
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

Pfizer is continuing its construction projects in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Hospira, acquired by Pfizer in 2015, had announced the expansion of its new facility the same year. It was for a $159 million, 58,000-square-foot injectable manufacturing facility.

However, according to Kim Bencker, head of communications for Pfizer Global Supply, the scope of the projects had increased to $190 million. Pfizer is adding an additional, adjacent facility that will be 65,000 square feet.

Bencker indicated that no new jobs were expected from the expansion. The new sterile injectable manufacturing plant is being added to modernize the company’s sterile injectable formulation and filling capabilities. The new plant will have a product formulations area and five new injectable filling areas.

This follows only months after the company announced in October 2016 that several hundred staffers at Rocky Mount were being laid off. At that time, and during summer 2016, Pfizer indicated that it was cutting manufacturing volume and “associated staffing levels at legacy Hospira Rocky Mount, NC facility in the second half of 2016.” There were about 2,000 employees working at the plant.

Since it acquired Hospira for $15 billion in 2015, Pfizer had been closing several of its legacy sites it acquired in the deal, including a manufacturing facility in Boulder, Colo. When it bought Hospira, Pfizer picked up several manufacturing facilities across the U.S., including the one in Colorado, as well as Rocky Mount, NC, Austin, Texas, Buffalo, NY and McPherson, Kan.

The new North Carolina plant is being built on the north side of Pfizer’s Rocky Mount main R1 facility. Its shell is complete and utilities are being installed, according to Bencker. Major equipment will be installed over the next 12 months.

“The original plan for the new sterile injectable manufacturing facility was to create new capacity to shift product volumes from some of our aging lines in the existing sterile manufacturing facility to the new facility,” Bencker told the Rocky Mount Telegram. “This will allow the current manufacturing space to be repurposed in the future when new opportunities arise. As such, the staff currently operating several of the existing sterile manufacturing lines and equipment will transition into this new facility.”

Originally Pfizer expected to launch operations at the facility in the second half of 2018, but now is projecting mid-2019. “The facility construction experienced a few typical site clearance, foundation and construction delays,” Bencker said, “and we have seen the original schedules for the major equipment deliveries slip by three to four months.”

In 2014, the facility also began a quality and analytical laboratory. It was designed to modernize the analytical testing capabilities at the site, and included a new laboratory, new testing equipment, and new analytical sample storage capabilities.

“The quality laboratory and the new sterile injectable manufacturing facility ad providing new, state-of-the-art capability and process design to Rocky Mount’s plant,” Bencker told the Telegram. “We are committed to invest in our people, our facilities and our processes to ensure the Rocky Mount site can continue to supply critical sterile injectable products to patients in the United States and abroad.”

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