Pfizer (US) receives Lifetime Achievement Trophy for decades of investment in Flanders

American biopharma juggernaut Pfizer operates four sites in Belgium, including two in the region of Flanders. The Flanders-based facility in Puurs, for example, is the company’s biggest manufacturing site in Europe and one of its largest worldwide. Recognizing Pfizer’s decades-spanning dedication to investing in its local activities, the firm received the Lifetime Achievement Trophy, awarded by Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT). Flanders’ Minister-President Geert Bourgeois presented the coveted award to Luc Van Steenwinkel, Managing Director at Pfizer’s manufacturing and packaging site in Puurs. This happened during FIT’s Foreign Investment Trophy event on February 27th, 2018.

Pfizer’s manufacturing and packaging facility in Puurs has been fabricating injectables, vaccines and ophthalmic products since 1963—operating under the Upjohn moniker at the time. The site, which Pfizer obtained in 2003, is not only firmly rooted in Flanders; it has also been the scene of numerous substantial investments throughout the years.

Impressive track record

One of Pfizer’s more recent investments in Flanders was even nominated for FIT’s Foreign Investment of the Year Trophy in 2016. A deserving nomination, to say the least. The year before, Pfizer opened a cutting-edge Vaccines Plant in Puurs, as well as a brand-new production unit for single-use prefilled syringes, called the Syringe Plant. To do so, the American firm funneled more than EUR 411 million into its Flanders-based facility over a period of 4 years.

That figure has since increased substantially. Over the last 6 years, Pfizer has invested over EUR 500 million into supporting its growth in Puurs. It will keep up the pace in the next few years—with investments in high tech manufacturing facilities, new manufacturing and packaging lines, increased manufacturing capacity, and so on. In short, Pfizer’s site in Puurs is booming.

Major acknowledgment

“These investments are a clear indicator of our parent company’s vision of Flanders as an attractive location for high-tech production,” said Luc Van Steenwinkel, managing director of Pfizer Puurs, back in 2016. “It’s a region where we can count on a highly skilled and results-driven workforce.”

Two years later, Van Steenwinkel’s appreciative statement still stands strong, as Pfizer keeps its ambitions in Flanders as high as ever. “It’s great to see that the appreciation goes both ways,” he adds after Pfizer’s victory at the Foreign Investment Trophy 2018. “Winning the Lifetime Achievement Trophy for our efforts in the region is important to us. It recognizes the hard work of our 2,600+ colleagues in Flanders and Belgium as a whole. We also see this trophy as an acknowledgment of Pfizer’s trust in its Flanders-based site and its commitment.”

Decades of local anchorage

  • 1952 – Pfizer begins its first activities on European soil by opening an office in Brussels, the capital of both Belgium and Flanders.
  • 1956 – Pfizer opens its Logistics Center in Zaventem, Flanders.
  • 1963 – Upjohn opens a pharmaceutical manufacturing site in Puurs, Flanders.
  • 1992 – One of two Pfizer Clinical Research Units worldwide is opened in Anderlecht.
  • 1995 – Upjohn joins forces with Swedish pharma firm Pharmacia under a new name: Pharmacia & Upjohn.
  • 2000 – The name Pharmacia & Upjohn is shortened to Pharmacia.
  • 2003 – Pfizer acquires the Flanders-based Pharmacia manufacturing plant in Puurs and gradually turns it into one of its largest facilities worldwide.
  • 2011 – Pfizer embarks on a major investment project in Flanders, channeling a total of EUR 411 million into its Puurs-based operations over 4 years.
  • 2015 – Pfizer opens its new Vaccines Plant in Puurs, earning it a nomination for the Foreign Investment of the Year Trophy at FIT’s Foreign Investment Trophy 2016 event.
  • 2016 – Pfizer inaugurates its renovated European Logistics Center in Zaventem (Flanders), making Flanders the logistics hub of its European activities.
  • 2017 – Pfizer celebrates its 65th anniversary in Belgium, while the Pfizer Clinical Research Unit (clinical trials) celebrates its 25th anniversary.
  • 2018 – Pfizer wins the Lifetime Achievement Trophy at FIT’s Foreign Investment Trophy event, highlighting the company’s decades-spanning track record.

Luc Van Steenwinkel, Managing Director, Pfizer Manufacturing Belgium