Pfizer’s major investments in Strängnäs

Chronicle · Helena Thelin Site Lead, Pfizer Health AB · 2019-02-28

Helena Thelin, Site Lead, Pfizer Health AB. Photo: Brigitte Grenfeldt.

Pfizer is currently investing SEK 350 million with the aim of doubling the rate of manufacturing in the facility in Strängnäs. The background to our major investment in Mälardalen is that the demand for our products is increasing. In a broader perspective, this is a matter of us being able to show that we belong to a strong region with many prominent automation companies and access to the right expertise.

Pfizer Health AB in Strängnäs is Sweden’s biotechnology facility for the production of pharmaceutical substances and vaccines. We manufacture five active substances included in growth hormones, growth hormone inhibiting hormones, anti-clotting agents, rheumatoid arthritis and vaccines, and export to the whole world. The level of automation in our process is high – manufacturing parameters for our products are set automatically and production takes place within a closed system which is cleaned between batches and campaigns.

Among other things, our expansion facilitates reduced setup times between each batch of a product. The work to install piping and new pumps, valves and water tanks is in full swing alongside our normal activities. During the summer we will stop production in order to finalise and test all new equipment, with the goal of starting up again in the autumn with around double our current capacity.

Within multinational companies, there is always competition between different facilities when it comes to where in the world a new product will be manufactured, for example. Access to skilled personnel – as well as the capacity to attract and maintain skilled employees – is an important aspect in this position.

We are working hard to become an attractive employer for the entire population. In 2016, our facility was voted the private workplace with the highest level of equality in Sweden (according to the Jämix index). The key figures for which we received the highest points were equal wages, even gender distribution in all professional groups and even distribution between men and women of parental leave taken.

Now as we expand in Strängnäs, the next step is to begin looking at how we can attract employees with cutting-edge expertise in the fields of digitalisation, AI and automation. We are digitalising our activities more and more and we need the knowledge and perspectives of the younger generation. At the same time, age distribution is important in order for us to build dynamic and innovative teams.

Life science is an expertise and technology-intensive sector and we have entered as members of Automation Region in order to contribute to business development. By exchanging experiences and discussing common challenges in the areas of technology and skills provision, among others, we can find new, smart solutions together with our suppliers and colleagues in industry.

In 2019, our Strängnäs-based production is celebrating 70 years. Sweden is a small country, but we have a prominent industry and a strong tradition of innovation and collaboration. This means we can be competitive in advanced biotechnology, a sector which is of major importance to Sweden’s exports – both now and in the future.

Helena Thelin
Site Lead, Pfizer Health AB