Pfizer wants more biopharma CMO work and would manufacture for Big Pharma rivals

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Pfizer would consider contracting for AstraZeneca at Strangnas
Pfizer would consider contracting for AstraZeneca at Strangnas

Related tags Big pharma Growth hormone Pfizer

The climate for biomanufacturing has changed according to Pfizer, which has set out to win more contracting work for its hormone plant in Sweden and says it will even consider making large molecule drugs for Big Pharma rivals. 

The plant in Strangnas –100km west of the Swedish capital Stockholm – was set up in 2006 as a microbial and yeast cell culture-based manufacturing facility and is the main global production site for Pfizer’s synthetic human growth hormone, Genotropin.

The plant was also approved for contract manufacturing work in 2010 according to site leader Kirsti Gjellan who told that, although production of own brand drugs continues to be the main focus, Pfizer is keen to increase the amount of contracting work it does at the site.

When this site was approved as a CMO three years back it was one of only a few Pfizer sites to have this status​” she said, adding that “now the climate is changing so this plant is open for CMO opportunities for small or larger companies that need manufacturing capacity​.”

We could produce different types of proteins using microbial organisms. We could also do conjugates that can be used for vaccines​,” Gjellan added citing the flexible manufacturing technologies Pfizer has at the plant as an important part of its efforts to win contracts.


Pfizer is also open to using its capabilities at Strangnas to produce biopharmaceuticals for a wide range of customers, even companies like fellow Sweden-based Big Pharma rival AstraZeneca according to Gjellan.

Today the biopharmaceutical manufacturing network is very open and we [drug companies] do a lot for each other” ​she said, adding that “of course it [contracting for AstraZeneca] would be evaluated, we can manage with legal agreements and we have managed in the past so, why on in the future.”

The firm is also confident it can compete with established CMOs Gjellan continued citing the quality systems and relationships the firm has in place with suppliers for its own products as an attractive prospect for potential customers.

She also suggested that having the financial clout of a Big Pharma firm would also give her contracting team an advantage over other CMOs.

We know that we are more cost competitive [than other CMOs] so we would provide a cost advantage for the customers​” Gjellan said, adding that “while we are a small organisation here in Strangnas…but we also have the muscles of the larger Pfizer which is a great support as well.”

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