Pfizer to invest $120M at Kalamazoo area site to boost Paxlovid output, create 250 jobs

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Pfizer Inc. has planned a $120 million investment at its Kalamazoo County facility that will create 250 additional jobs and support the production of its COVID-19 oral treatment, Paxlovid.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who joined Pfizer for the Monday announcement, said the move will build on the state’s economic momentum.

“We are the epicenter of the auto industry and home to countless other breakthroughs in sciences as well as advanced manufacturing, chips, semiconductors and more," she said. "And with this investment in Kalamazoo. we're shoring up our supply chain and showing the world that Michigan is the place to be for companies who want to do big things and need the incredible workforce to accomplish those things.”

Pfizer's plant in Portage is seen on Wednesday, January 3, 2021.

Pfizer made some of the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at its 1,300-acre facility in Portage, the company's largest production site, which sits just south of Kalamazoo.

According to officials, Pfizer has manufactured more than 5.5 million packs of the antiviral therapy, Paxlovid, across 26 countries.

The investment at the Kalamazoo County site is expected to help meet the global demand for Paxlovid. The site is expected to be among the world’s largest producers of active pharmaceutical ingredient for the drug with the capacity to produce 1,200 metric tons annually, officials said Monday.

“We are proud to continue building on our 135-year manufacturing legacy here in Kalamazoo, where we continue to manufacture breakthrough medicines for people around the world,” David Breen, Kalamazoo site lead for Pfizer, said Monday. “As our largest manufacturing site, Kalamazoo plays a critical role in our ability to bring breakthrough medicines to those patients all over the world. We will continue to work with partners in the industry, government and everyone else through any of the challenges that may arise.”

In a statement Monday, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, expressed his support for the Pfizer expansion and thanked the workers at the Portage facility.

“This news is welcomed for two reasons: first, economic growth is absolutely essential as we continue to recover,” he said. “The ripple effects of 250 new jobs means new neighborhoods, parks, and schools in the near future. Second, increasing production of Paxlovid brings us one step closer to help contain the impacts of COVID-19. Hospitals and the brave folks who staff them will feel relief as this treatment will keep hospital beds available that would have been used for severe cases of COVID-19 and will help keep the general population healthy.”

Pfizer also announced Monday it plans an additional investment to expand its modular aseptic processing sterile injectable pharmaceutical production site in Portage.  Last year, the company broke ground on the $450 million, 400,000-square-foot production facility.

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN