Amgen to create 1,100 jobs in Cork

24 Jan 2006

More than 1,100 new jobs are to be created at Carrigtwohill in Cork by 2010 with the investment of more than US$1bn by Amgen, one of the largest biotechnology companies in the world, in a major manufacturing operation.

Amgen plans to build process development, bulk manufacturing and fill and finish facilities at Carrigtwohill.

Amgen discovers and develops innovative human therapeutic products for patients and has pioneered significant medical developments in the fight against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis and other serious illnesses.

The proposed Irish operations will manufacture products for the growing number of patients in Europe and other parts of the world who benefit from the company’s vital medicines.

The projects will get under way mid-2006 at a 133-acre greenfield site and operations are expected to begin in 2009.

“This is a landmark decision and one that is welcomed not just by Cork but by all of Ireland,” said Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Micheál Martin TD this afternoon. “Investments of this scale speak volumes about Ireland’s ability to compete and win the most advanced and innovative business from the biggest biotechnology company in the world.

“The intense global competition for these investments has been well publicised and we are delighted to be officially bringing this superb news today to the people of Cork and Ireland. The Irish Government, IDA Ireland and local partners made a concentrated group effort to win these projects and Amgen, a leader in its field, with world-class research and development (R&D) and ground-breaking discoveries, is a very welcome addition to our thriving biotechnology industry.”

Competition for biotech and IT-related projects is reaching fever pitch across the world. The Amgen news follows hot on the heels of a decision by IDA Ireland to seek planning permission for a hi-tech manufacturing campus at Grange Castle in Clondalkin, County Dublin. Subsequent reports have revealed that the planning application is a stalking horse for a potential future investment by Intel in Ireland under a project code-named Project Horizon, and could strengthen local Intel management’s case in pitching the project to senior management in the US.

Senior vice-president of manufacturing at Amgen Fabrizio Bonanni said the need to invest in a new manufacturing facility was driven by a need for capacity to serve the growing European market.

The California-headquartered company recorded revenues of €8.7bn in 2004 and is listed on the Nasdaq stock market. Some 5,500 people – almost 40pc of the company’s entire staff – are engaged in R&D. The company was one of the first companies in the world to realise the new science of biotechnology’s promise in terms of bringing safe and effective medicines from lab to manufacturing plant and to patient.

“We considered several attractive sites in other countries for these projects and finally chose Ireland due to its thriving biotechnology community, infrastructure to support biologics manufacturing and pro-business environment. In addition, the access and availability to highly skilled and educated people particularly in the areas we most require combined with the support and assistance of IDA Ireland made this decision the right one for Amgen’s future,” Bonanni said.

By John Kennedy