Pfizer Opens its 1st Asia Drug Development Lab in Chennai

US drug maker Pfizer said it has opened its global drug development centre in Chennai that will work on development of finished dosage formulations, active pharmaceutical ingredients and analytical methods. Pfizer said it has invested ₹150 crore ($20 million) on the 61,000 sq ft drug development centre which was set up at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras Research Park.

The centre has 10 labs and is expected to employ over 250 scientists and technicians.

The Chennai drug development centre will be the first such investment by Pfizer in Asia. The centre will be part of a network of 12 global centres set up worldwide, mostly in US and Europe. The centre will work on developing new formulations for existing as well as innovative Pfizer products.

On APIs, the focus would be more on improving process development, unlocking cost efficiencies and environment sustainability. In addition, the drug development centre will also develop early stages of the supply chain such as registered starting materials or intermediates for Pfizer's strategically important products.

The FDFs and APIs developed in India will be scaled up and used in Pfizer's markets such as US, Western Europe, Japan, Latin America and Australia. Pfizer said the drug development centre is part of its strategy to diversify drug development and supply chain in the backdrop of Covid-19 pandemic and other geo-political disruptions.

SSridhar, country manager of Pfizer India, said that India is Pfizer's anchor market and the company has made significant investments over the years. “There are very few companies that leverage India as holistically as Pfizer has — across our long-established commercial business, strong manufacturing capabilities, service hub and the latest our global drug development centre.

This centre is an excellent example — it is not an ‘India centre’, but a global centre in India,” Sridhar said.

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