SK Biotek Ireland to expand Dublin plant with $35m injection

15 Jun 2022

Workers in SK Biotek Ireland’s high-containment lab. Image: SK Biotek Ireland

The South Korean-owned company plans to expand the Swords site it acquired in 2018 and hire a host of scientists and engineers.

Pharmaceutical manufacturer SK Biotek Ireland is investing $35m to expand its plant in Dublin.

A subsidiary of South Korean pharma giant SK Pharmteco, SK Biotek said it plans to “significantly increase” the manufacturing capacity of its plant in Swords.

The investment will go towards the first phase of the expansion, which will see the construction of a new manufacturing building due to be completed by 2024.

This is when the Swords site will celebrate its 60th anniversary as a small molecule active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) manufacturer. It has been used to develop pharmaceutical therapeutic products for patients around the world, including oncology and cardiology treatments.

As well as a new building, the investment will be used to expand the site’s reactor volume capacity and for filtration and drying equipment and associated utilities.

The total expansion will happen over two phases. Once completed, it will result in an overall 50pc increase in capacity for the SK Biotek plant.

“With substantial growth in our business base, this expansion supports SK Biotek Ireland’s position as a key contributor to SK Pharmteco’s EU and worldwide business,” said Joyce Fitzharris, who was appointed president of SK Biotek Ireland last year.

SK Biotek acquired the Swords site in January 2018, which was formerly a Bristol-Myers Squibb API facility.

“[The expansion] will bring additional manufacturing capacity and capability to deliver pharmaceutical products that meet our customer needs and provide benefits to many patients over the coming years,” said Martin O’Halloran, director of engineering at SK Biotek Ireland.

This is the second major expansion project in recent years led by O’Halloran. The first was in 2020 when the Swords campus completed a significant reactor capacity expansion to meet growing demand for its products.

John Keogh, HR director at SK Biotek Ireland, said the company will ramp up its recruitment to support further expansion. He added that it is actively hiring for scientists, engineers, project managers, quality professionals and other roles.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic