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BioMarin to buy Pfizer’s Shanbally biologics plant

By Gareth Macdonald , 27-Jun-2011

BioMarin will buy Pfizer’s biologics manufacturing plant in Shanbally, Cork, Ireland to add production capacity for its candidate mucopolysaccharidosis treatment.

The deal , which is expected to close in the third quarter this year, values the 133,000 sqft, Irish Medicines Board approved facility at $48.5m (€34m) which BioMarin said is one fifth of the cost of building and validating a new plan.

California, US-based BioMarin said that manufacturing activities at the plant will be tied to the results of a Phase III clinical study of N-acetylgalactosamine 6 sulphatase (GALNS).

The firm expects to start making GALNS in Shanbally in 2015 and said that in the meantime it will cost around $4m a year to maintain the facility.

CEO Jean-Jacques Bienaime said: "We believe that additional manufacturing capabilities beyond our current resources will be needed to support anticipated peak sales for GALNS, PEG-PAL for PKU, BMN 701 for Pompe disease, BMN 111 for achondroplasia, if they continue to progress to approval, and our other preclinical programs."

Ireland plans

For Pfizer the sale marks the latest stage of its plan to reduce manufacturing capacity in Ireland.

Pfizer announced its intention to sell the Shanbally site, as well as others in Dun Laoghaire and Loughbeg, in May 2010 after buying Wyeth. The firm also said it would reduce its workforce at its solid dose plant in NewBridge, Kildare.

The Dun Laoghaire facility, which houses aseptic manufacturing lines, freeze-drying technologies and liquid vial filling areas, was bought by US biotechnology firm Amgen in March this year.

At the time Amgen said that it would continue to supply Pfizer with certain biologics products for an interim period, securing the jobs of 240 people that work at the facility.

BioMarin will not be involved in any supply deal according to spokeswoman Geraldine O’conner who told in-Pharmatechnologist.com that, under Pfizer's ownership, the Shanbally site produced small batches of candidate biologics for preclinical assessment and that this work will be transferred to a facility in Grange Castle on the outskirts of Dublin.

The decision to exit the facility due to excess small scale mammalian cell based drug substance capacity in the Pfizer network, with availability of clinical launch and scale up capacity at our Grange Castle site.”

O’conner declined to comment on the progress of Pfizer’s efforts to sell the plant in Loughbeg.

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