PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — Pfizer is sinking $120 million into its plant in Portage and creating hundreds of jobs with the goal of ramping up production of its COVID-19 treatment pill, Paxlovid.
“Pfizer was fortunate enough to bring a protease inhibitor to this COVID challenge and we are thrilled to have launched Paxlovid and we need to expand our production facility,” Mike McDermott, chief global supply officer, said.
In a press conference on Monday, Pfizer said the multi-million dollar investment will enable “U.S.-based production in support of its COVID-19 oral treatment, Paxlovid.” It will also bring over 250 additional jobs high-skilled jobs to the site.
“Today represents a breakthrough that will change patients’ lives,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.
After the news conference, Whitmer toured the Pfizer plant.
The company says that Paxlovid can “reduce hospitalization and death by almost 90% in high-risk patients” when taken within five days of symptoms. The treatment was authorized for emergency use in December 2021 by the FDA under the Emergency Use Authorization for treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 for those aged 12 and older. It has not been fully approved.
To date, Pfizer has shipped 12 million courses of Paxlovid across 37 countries with 5 million courses shipped to the U.S., the company said.
“With this new investment, Kalamazoo will be among the world’s largest producers of API (active pharmaceutical ingredient), with the capacity to produce 1,200 metric tons annually,” Pfizer said in a press release.