€13m R&D operation for west Dublin

2 Apr 2009

Ireland is still continuing to win important foreign direct investment (FDI) investments – the latest being a €13m IDA Ireland-supported investment by pharmaceutical giant Helsinn, which will create 10 high-value research positions.

Helsinn’s core business is the in-licensing of late-stage pharmaceutical compounds in therapeutic niche areas for development and subsequent commercial manufacture and distribution.

The company is primarily active in oncology supportive care, anti-inflammatory and gastrointestinal treatments. The investment is part of Helsinn’s strategic decision to strengthen its in-house development capability.

“This investment will establish the Irish operation as the Centre of Knowledge and Learning for oral solid dosage (OSD) products in the Helsinn Group, and also the launch site for new products within its portfolio,” said the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan TD.

“Strategically, it is very significant for the Irish operation, putting it at the core of Helsinn’s R&D activities. The investment is very much in line with the Government and IDA Ireland strategy of transforming existing Irish operations of international companies, particularly into R&D and knowledge-based activities.”

Helsinn’s Irish operation was established in 1990, when it acquired Birex Pharmaceuticals in Dublin.

To date, Helsinn has invested a total of over €55m in Ireland, and continuously invests in its plants in order to maintain high quality and safety, to increase overall production capacity and to offer its partners up-to-date products, technologies and services.

It now employs a total of 210 people at its four separate businesses – Helsinn Birex Pharmaceuticals, Helsinn Chemical Ireland and sales and marketing companies, Helsinn Birex Therapeutics and Ergha Healthcare division.

“This new investment in R&D is another important step for the Irish operation and will be of significant benefit for the future of our international business, with the aim of centralising in the new plant any scientific development for OSD products,” said Riccardo Braglia, CEO of the Helsinn Group.

By John Kennedy