Drugmaker Pfizer breaks ground on new Portage facility, plans to hire hundreds

Posted at 2:58 PM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 17:19:36-04

(WXYZ) — Global drugmaker Pfizer has been a leader in making millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses and it’s now breaking ground on a new 420,000 square-foot production facility in Portage. Pfizer says they’ll be adding 450 new jobs in Kalamazoo County, to support one of the world’s most technically advanced facilities. At a ground breaking Wednesday in West Michigan, company executives laid out the direction the they are moving in.

“This has really been a wonderful place for us to do our work. On behalf of patients, we are so grateful for your support to make this day possible.” said Mike McDermott, the President of Pfizer Global Supply. The $465 million dollar new facility is set to open in 2025, with capacity of making 50,000,000 viles of medicine a year, with modular aseptic processing technology.

Chaz Calitri, VP of Operations for Sterile Injectables at Pfizer U.S. & E.U. told guests, “There’s a special spirit here. A can do spirit. It’s all about can do. Our team here demonstrates our confidence and why we don’t hesitate investigating huge sums of money here.” The same company known for creating and supplying the cutting edge COVID-19 vaccine together with bioNtech that’s used to battle coronavirus across the US, is now committing to manufacturing a pain medicine called Dynastat and others, for use in several countries.

“I look forward to the MAP project from the ground up. I have full confidence they’ll get it done even sooner and maybe cheaper.” said Calitri. The jobs at the facility are expected to range in pay from 70-93K a year, and local college graduates will be offered positions. “I can’t tell you how proud I was to see those first trucks with vaccines rolling out of here from Portage and all the work since then. If you look at the trucks, it was about hope for all of us.” said Senator Debbie Stabenow.

Wednesday's announcement came at the same time as another major update showing Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is proven 100% safe and effective for kids ages 12 to 15 according to the company. Senator Stabenow added, “Everybody who works here really is a hero. Not just rhetoric. It’s saving lives everyday, and I know the expansion here will do even more.”

In the United States, more than 75 million doses including those from Pfizer have already been given out according to the CDC. Wednesday, Pfizer also delivered on a commitment to have 120 million doses to the U.S. government released and ready for shipment.

“We’re going to spend whatever it takes to get the job done. That’s going to be our mission. It is really an exciting day to come together and solve an issue that has perplexed the world,” said Congressman Fred Upton.

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