A ribbon-cutting ceremony held last Thursday morning celebrated Pfizer’s new 175,000-square-foot clinical manufacturing facility at the company’s campus on Burtt Road.
More than 100 employees came out to commemorate the completion of the $200 million project, which will provide 75 new jobs in addition to the 1,250 workers currently employed at the campus.
The ceremony follows the 2016 approval of a five-year tax incremental financing, or TIF, agreement between Pfizer and the town for the expansion. The agreement gives the company property tax exemptions based on its increased value.
Town Manager Andrew Flanagan said the town and taxpayers made a $3 million investment in Pfizer with the agreement. He said over the course of 15 to 20 years, Andover will get $15 million for its investment, while also helping the company.
“A project like this is so important to the commercial fabric of our community,” Flanagan said. “It’s part of our economic development plan not only to attract new businesses, but retain the ones we have. ... It’s a great example of a public-private partnership and an opportunity to really support a business who’s trying to grow in Andover.”
The TIF agreement with Pfizer was the second approved by voters in the town’s history. The third agreement, with Vicor Corporation, was approved at a Special Town Meeting last month.
The state-of-the-art Pfizer facility includes five independent manufacturing suites aimed to advance Pfizer’s work on new biotherapeutics and vaccines, with more than 50 projects in development.
Gov. Charlie Baker, who visited the campus years ago and was presented the expansion plans for the facility, cut the ceremonial ribbon alongside Flanagan, representatives from Pfizer, and local state representatives and senators.
“These are buildings. That’s all they are. They’re buildings and they’re great,” said Baker. “But fundamentally, it’s the people inside the buildings that actually make them sing. ... You are really what makes Pfizer sing, and this investment is an investment in you and the work that you do on the behalf of the people that Pfizer serves and continues to serve and seek therapies for.”
Christine Smith, vice president of biotherapeutics pharmaceutical sciences for Pfizer, said the expansion will increase the company’s capacity and efficiency in manufacturing clinical trial materials by about 30 percent.
“We are always striving toward delivering high-quality biologics and vaccines, but we need to do it in a quick fashion and very efficiently,” she said. The new expansion will allow for that to happen.
Pfizer’s Andover campus currently includes seven buildings, which house laboratories, clinical and commercial manufacturing suites, and support areas.
“We are excited to expand our presence in Andover,” said Mikael Dolsten, chief scientific officer and president of worldwide research, development and medical at Pfizer. “We aim to increase connectivity between our research and in-house manufacturing efforts to better inform the process, ensure quality assurance, and ultimately improve patient access to potentially life-changing treatments.”
The company began construction in June 2016, and the work took about 2 1/2 years to complete.