Pfizer makes shock decision to scrap 350-job project in Dublin

28 Nov 2016

Pfizer has decided to scrap a 350-job project in Dublin, after trials for a new cholesterol drug proved unsatisfactory. Image: Roman Tiraspolsky/Shutterstock

A mere few months after it was announced that Pfizer was to create up to 350 jobs in a major expansion of its Grange Castle facility in Dublin, it has emerged that the project is to be scrapped.

Last July, it was revealed that Pfizer had filed an environmental impact statement for a two-phase expansion at the facility, which would have seen it add a further 34,500 sq m in total, as part of an investment worth at least €300m.

However, the expansion is not to happen because a decision has been made to discontinue the development of bococizumab, a drug for reducing cholesterol.

Pfizer is understood to have discovered unexpected side effects with the drug, and that it was becoming less effective over time.

The development of the drug was a big deal for Pfizer and had been tipped to bring in sales of almost $1bn a year for the pharma giant.

Biotech campus

Close to 30,000 people had been enrolled in late-stage trials of the drug.

Grange Castle is Pfizer’s largest single investment in Ireland; a €1.8bn biotechnology facility located on a 90-acre site in south Dublin, with buildings and facilities extending to more than 1m sq ft.

The site manufactures biological active ingredients, which are used in parenteral products for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and ankylosing spondylitis, and in vaccines for the prevention of pneumococcal disease. The site also manufactures the finished vaccine drug product in pre-filled syringes.

“We are disappointed by this outcome, but remain committed to investing in innovation; concentrating our pipeline on areas where we can bring transformational therapies to address unmet needs, including in patients with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases,” Pfizer said in a statement.

Pfizer HQ in New York. Image: Roman Tiraspolsky/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years