BMS selling up Swords facility as South Korean giant comes to town

16 Jun 2017

Image: natalia bulatova/Shutterstock

Bristol-Myers Squibb will no longer manufacture medicines in Swords, Dublin, as SK Biotek agrees to buy the facility and take over production.

2017 will close with a new entry into Ireland’s growing biopharma scene, after news of a major site acquisition in north Dublin.

In buying the Swords facility, SK Biotek has become the first Korean company to invest in pharmaceutical manufacturing in Ireland.

Despite Bristol-Myers Squibb relinquishing the facility in the fourth quarter of this year, production will not halt, as SK Biotek plans to continue manufacturing the current portfolio of small molecule pharmaceutical products at the site.

“This transaction is an important step to achieve our goal of becoming a leading global contract development manufacturing organisation,” said Junku Park, CEO of SK Biotek.

“It allows us to enhance technological and manufacturing capacity and build long-term partnerships with existing and new customers.”

SK Biotek is part of SK Group, the third-largest conglomerate in South Korea. It aims to operate the Swords plant as a contract development and manufacturing organisation in its own right, with plans to add marketing and R&D talent, while upgrading and expanding the site.

“We have chosen to invest in Ireland because of the welcoming business environment and the exceptionally talented workforce, and we look forward to growing our presence in Swords in the coming years. We are very pleased to welcome the Swords facility to SK Biotek.”

The two companies have a history together, with SK Biotek supplying to BMS for a decade, something the latter’s president of global product development, Lou Schmukler, lauded.

“We value our partnership with SK Biotek and believe today’s agreement will continue the vital role the Swords facility plays for its employees, the community and patients,” he said.

“Today’s agreement is an important step in the ongoing evolution of our manufacturing network to support the company’s innovative portfolio.

“Our continued investment in Ireland is critical for our ability to deliver transformational medicines to patients, both through the increased biologics capabilities we are building in Cruiserath and our ongoing commercial and business presence in Dublin.”

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic