Biotech plant postponement leads to 80 redundancies

4 Oct 2007

Plans to build an €800m biotechnology manufacturing plant at Carrigtwohill in Cork have been postponed by US biotech player Amgen. As a result, close to 80 people that have joined the firm will now receive redundancy.

It emerged last night that the company planned to indefinitely postpone plans to build a major manufacturing facility following a review of its business plans.

In August, Amgen revealed plans to cut its workforce worldwide by 12pc to 14pc but said the plans would not affect its Irish operations.

It was in February last year that Amgen, the largest biotechnology company in the world, announced plans to create 1,100 jobs at the site in 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 postponed Irish operations were being positioned to 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 project was envisaged to get under way mid-2006 at a 133-acre greenfield site and operations were expected to begin in 2009.

While Amgen has said it will be offering the 80 existing staff at the facility redundancy it will retain ownership of the site in Carrigtwohill.

The general manager of Amgen Technology Ireland Mark Sawyer said that the decision was based purely on developments relating to Amgen’s global business and is not reflective of the business environment in Ireland.

The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheal Martin, said he was disappointed with the decision but that every available support must be given to the 80 workers who will be made redundant.

By John Kennedy