The investment, which forms part of Pfizer’s strategy to expand manufacturing capacity in Europe, will focus on the expansion of production capacity, cold storage options, and packaging processes

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Alexander De Croo, Mike McDermott, Jan Jambon, Luc Van Steenwinkel. (Credit: Pfizer Belgium)

US-based pharmaceutical company Pfizer has unveiled its plans to invest more than €1.2bn in its manufacturing facility in Puurs, Belgium, over a period of three years.

Last week, the company announced a $1.2bn investment to expand its manufacturing facility in Dublin, Ireland, which is expected to create 400 to 500 new jobs.

Pfizer said that the current announcement is part of its strategy to expand manufacturing capacity in Europe, and is the largest-ever investment in the Belgian site.

The investment will focus on three areas, expansion of production capacity, cold storage options and packaging processes, said the company.

Pfizer executive vice president and chief global supply officer Mike McDermott said: “Our site in Puurs has played an incredibly important role in the Pfizer Global Supply network for many years. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, this importance has only increased.

“I am very pleased that with this investment we can further support the production of vaccines and medicines and strengthen our pipeline.

“At the same time, we recognize the importance of the site in the production of groundbreaking medicines that change the lives of patients.”

Pfizer’s investment will enable the construction of a new Isolator Facility Centre (IFC), installed with two advanced production modules for additional filling capacity.

The company will build a Flexible Freezer Warehouse that features two different freezer modules with independent temperature regulation for optimal cold storage.

In addition, it will also expand the Centre for Secondary Packaging at the Puurs site, which has already undergone a large-scale expansion.

The packaging centre will be upgraded with 16 additional packaging cabins to further increase capacity.

Works on few projects already started, and the remaining are expected to start in early 2023, said the company.

Pfizer Puurs site leader Luc van Steenwinkel said: “I am extremely proud of what this site has achieved. We produced one of the first Covid-19 vaccines to receive emergency use authorization for more than 150 countries worldwide.

“At the same time, we continued to provide the world with the life-saving medicines and vaccines that many patients depend on.

“The branch in Puurs made the impossible come true. This investment will contribute to the fight against the pandemic and provide a large-scale platform for the development of new medicines and vaccines.” ​