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Injectables maker NantWorks will give Pfizer's old Indiana facility an $85.5m makeover

By Natalie Morrison+

12-Jan-2012

NantWorks has unveiled plans to pump $85.5m into a new oncology and critical care injectables manufacturing plant in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The 210-acre facility – once used to produce Pfizer's flop inhalable diabetes drug Exubera – will meet an expected increase in production needs for the firm, as several of its formulations currently under the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) microscope are set to go into manufacture.

Jen Hodson, communications manager for NantWorks, told in-PharmaTechnologist that though the factory – expected to open its doors in 2015 – is in need of extensive restructuring, the company believes the takeover was a good move.

She said: Terra Haute offers and number of advantages including an existing facility which was formally used for pharmaceutical manufacturing that – while requiring significant re-engineering design – serves as good starting point to deploy various pharmaceutical manufacturing technologies.”

Patrick Soon Shiong, chairman and CEO of NantWorks added that the facility is a mere stepping stone in the business’ growth strategy to develop manufacturing capabilities for injectables and next generation drugs.

“NantWorks’ vision is to build an integrated evidence-based, genomically-informed, personalized approach to the delivery of care and the development of next generation diagnostics and therapeutics,” Hodson said.

The plant will create creating up to 234 new jobs by 2016, including 21 validation engineers, 19 quality and 14 production engineers.

CMO possibilities

When in-PharmaTechnologist asked whether NantWorks would consider operating contract manufacturing services from Terre Haute, Hodson said the firm would consider all avenues of delivering drugs to the sector.

She said: “The facility will be designed with significant capacity to produce injectable drugs in various formats. NantWorks is committed to reviewing all opportunities that bring us closer to delivering high quality critically needed pharmaceuticals that benefit patients and the healthcare sectors.”

Pfizer thinks small

The plant has been on the market since November 2008, after Pfizer called time on its failed inhaled insulin product Exubera. The firm still has a number of facilities which have been up for sale.

After delivering a disappointing projected turnover for 2012, Pfizer now says its focus lies in small buyouts and acquisitions, and says the coming years will see a decrease in R&D operations.

The Associated Press reported that CEO Ian Reed said, “We're only going to do bolt-on acquisitions or licensing deals that make sense financially,” at this year’s J.P. Morgan, in California, US.

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