In late 2020, all eyes were on Michigan as the first batches of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine left the company’s Portage facility – and today, the global pharmaceutical industry leader is putting Michigan on the map once again as a leader in fighting the pandemic by announcing it will add 250 jobs to its Portage manufacturing facility as part of a $120 million investment to produce Paxlovid, the company’s antiviral COVID-19 pill. According to the company, the facility will be the only U.S. manufacturer of the ingredients and materials used to produce Paxlovid.
In clinical trials, the prescription drug treatment was shown to be 89% effective in preventing hospitalization and death among high-risk individuals. This year, Pfizer aims to produce 120 million packs of Paxlovid, which received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December.
“Pfizer’s $120 million expansion in Kalamazoo creating 250 good-paying jobs making PAXLOVID will save lives and build on Michigan’s economic momentum,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Pfizer’s Kalamazoo facility also made some of the first doses of the vaccine, and now this proud Michigan company will play a critical role in both the treatment and prevention of COVID. By creating opportunity for Michiganders, Pfizer is helping us grow our economy, create good-paying jobs, and keep families safe.”
The investment builds on Michigan’s leadership in combatting COVID-19 since cases were first detected in March 2020, with the first U.S. doses of the Pfizer vaccine being manufactured at the Portage facility. Since December 2020, the facility has produced nearly a billion doses. In March 2021, Pfizer broke ground on one of the world’s most technically advanced sterile injectable pharmaceutical production facilities – known as Modular Aseptic Processing (MAP) – in Portage. The facility is expected to add approximately 450 new jobs in Kalamazoo County, part of a $465 million investment by the company.
“Pfizer’s continued investment in Michigan highlights the state’s leadership in life sciences and medical device manufacturing and our commitment to growing high-wage tech jobs to strengthen economic opportunity for Michiganders,” said MEDC CEO and Michigan Strategic Fund President and Chair Quentin Messer Jr. “We are grateful to Pfizer and this investment will sustain its presence in the Kalamazoo area for years to come. We are grateful for the bi-partisan leadership of Governor Whitmer and members of the Michigan Legislature.”
Pfizer’s ongoing investment in Michigan’s Arsenal of Innovation is one of many factors that makes the state a national leader in its pandemic response. Also contributing to Michigan’s COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing efforts, Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing (GRAM) in Grand Rapids was selected in 2020 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Defense to support the expansion of the United States’ capacity for manufacturing and distributing vaccines or therapeutics related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Soon after, GRAM entered into an agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, to support the manufacture of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate. When Johnson & Johnson received emergency approval from the FDA in early 2021, GRAM got to work manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccine to be delivered throughout the country.
In addition to spearheading the country’s efforts to combat COVID-19, Michigan is also a leader in economic recovery following the challenges of the pandemic.
In a Bloomberg opinion piece, Michigan’s economy was ranked #1 among 37 other states with a population greater than two million since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Michigan also ranked #2 in the country in Credible’s list of states where the economy has recovered the most from COVID-19, citing Governor Whitmer’s economic recovery plans for businesses and residents of the state.
Much of the state’s economic recovery can be attributed to Michigan’s small business growth over the past two years. According to Opportunity Insight’s Track the Recovery, January 2022 saw small business revenue in Michigan increase by 24% compared to January 2020, while the nation experienced a 6.9% increase over the same period. Michigan also had the fastest small business job growth in 23 years according to the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information, adding 170,000 in the first three quarters of 2021.
The proud home to 275 medical device and life sciences firms, from household industry names such as Pfizer and Stryker to exciting upstarts like Tetra Therapeutics, Michigan is among the top ten in the nation for medical device manufacturing companies. The state is increasingly competitive throughout the nation for developing, testing and deploying new medical device technologies, particularly in the Southwest region of Michigan, which has five times more workers than the U.S. average in the medical device sector.
Michigan’s role in manufacturing the Johnson & Johnson SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and distributing the Pfizer vaccine to combat COVID-19 has helped make the state a global leader in commercializing, testing and deploying new life sciences technologies and medications. By leveraging the state’s existing medical device anchor companies and research assets, the state is focused on continuing to grow the life sciences industry.
Whether mobilizing an Arsenal of Innovation to address the COVID-19 pandemic or growing the economy and creating jobs, Michigan remains laser-focused on improving the lives of all Michiganders.
To see why companies like Pfizer are choosing to invest and grow in Michigan, visit www.michiganbusiness.org/why-michigan/.
About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.
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