Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), a global drug manufacturer is in negotiation with local and state offices of the Lee County regarding the proposed $100 million expansion of its drug development factory in Sanford.
The project may not create many jobs as such with approximately 50 jobs created if the North Carolina decides to make the investment. The move would however help in recovering part of the lucrative jobs in Sanford that were lost when the company reduced its operations in 2009. The jobs created will averagely pay $90,000 per year compared to the county’s average wage of $38,116.
Reliable sources have also indicated that Pfizer is exploring options to locate the project in Massachusetts. Pfizer is currently working on the expansion of its Andover plant at a total cost of $200. The expansion is aimed at expanding the company’s production capacity of complex vaccines and biologics.
Kim Bencker, the company’s spokeswoman confirmed the reports saying they are exploring a number of sites in Sanford to be used in the construction of a new gene therapy facility. She however said work is still in preliminary stages.
Pfizer bought Bamboo Therapeutics in August 2016. Pfizer spent a total of $645 million in acquiring the gene therapy company. Since Pfizer has spent $4 million to an annual academic fellowship program ran by North Carolina Biotechnology Center. The funds go towards supporting postdoctoral programs in the institution’s research laboratories.
While speaking at the CED Life Science Conference that took place in Raleigh on March 1, former CEO at Bamboo Sheila Mikhail said a group of 40 of the company’s employees had approached Pfizer to propose an acquisition deal. This was after it was realized Bamboo would need around $100 million to commercially produce its gene therapy processes.
Pfizer owns manufacturing campus sitting on 230 acres in Lee County. The facility has employed around 450 people engaged in clinical production of drugs in development. At its optimum capacity, when the Wyeth Pharmaceuticals was still manufacturing vaccines for children, the Sanford plant had a workforce of around 1,500 people. Much of the vaccine produced at the plant was exported to Ireland after Pfizer merged with Wyeth in 2009.