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Gareth Carpenter
17 Mar 2021

Pfizer to sell Chinese biologics manufacturing facility to WuXi

Multinational makes ‘difficult decision’ to halt presence in Chinese biosimilars market five years after $350 million investment

Pfizer has agreed to sell its single-use biologics manufacturing plant in Hangzhou, eastern China to Chinese contract development and manufacturing organisation, WuXi Biologics, five years after investing $350 million to build the facility.

The sale of the 50,000 sq m facility, which has been operational since 2018, effectively ends Pfizer’s involvement in the Chinese biosimilars market. Pfizer had originally planned to manufacture three biosimilars for the Chinese market.

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2021 and financial details have not been disclosed.

“After a comprehensive review of the biosimilars market and the company’s global manufacturing network, Pfizer has made a difficult decision to halt its biosimilars programs in China and to sell 100% of its equity interest in Pfizer Biologics (Hangzhou) Co. Ltd,” Pfizer said in a statement sent to CPhI Online.

“This transaction notwithstanding, Pfizer remains committed to continue to realize its purpose – breakthroughs that change patients’ lives in China,” the company added.

In a statement, Wuxi Biologics said the addition of Hangzhou and its entire labour force would boost its drug substance and drug product capacities to “address surging manufacturing demands” and that production would start shortly after the closure of the deal.

The Hangzhou plant includes drug substance capacities equipped with two 2000L single-use bioreactors expandable to 4x2000L and drug product capacities of vial filling and pre-filled syringe.

“Globally DS and especially DP capacities are in urgent need now,” said Dr. Chris Chen, CEO of WuXi Biologics. “The acquisition will allow us to better enable our global partners to develop and manufacture premier-quality biologics to benefit patients around the world.”

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