Pfizer opens doors on US$30m lab in Cork

1 May 2014

Dr Paul Duffy, vice-president, head of Ireland Country Coordinating Council; Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock TD; and Seamus Fives, site lead, Pfizer Ringaskiddy

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has opened a new US$30m lab at Ringaskiddy in Cork that will concentrate on producing therapies to deal with some of the most devastating and difficult diseases to cure.

The US$30 investment in the New Product Technology Laboratory (NPTL) is to develop specialist new capability to manufacture some of Pfizer’s newest oncology products and other future pipeline medicines.

The investment was part of a wider Pfizer investment announcement last year which included a further US$100m for the Grangecastle facility in Dublin.

In relation to the Ringaskiddy part of the investment, 20 high-tech posts were created as part of the investment. These roles have now been filled

The introduction of flow processing and innovative technologies requires not just an investment in new equipment but also an increase and deepening of R&D skills.

Pfizer employs 3,200 people across six sites in Ireland and has invested US$7bn in the country since opening its first site in 1969.

“The Ringaskiddy site was Pfizer’s first manufacturing facility in Ireland almost 45 years ago – it is fantastic to see the work at the site evolve into high-tech manufacturing,” explained Seamus Fives, site leader at Ringaskiddy.

“The site commenced with the manufacture of citric acid in 1969 and it is now manufacturing some of Pfizer’s newest and most complex medicines for global export. This is fantastic recognition of the dedication and commitment of colleagues on site.”

Opportunity for Pfizer’s Irish sites

The company has invested US$330m in its Grangecastle and Ringaskiddy sites in the last two years.

“There is opportunity for Pfizer’s Irish sites to attract the development of new medicines, while also continuing to manufacture existing, important medicines,” explained Dr Paul Duffy, vice president of Pfizer.

“This new facility ensures the Ringaskiddy site will be in a position to be considered for development work on Pfizer’s pipeline products. Pfizer’s pipeline currently comprises more than 80 innovative therapies, including potentially first-in-class vaccines for two deadly hospital-acquired infections, new antibodies for lupus and high cholesterol and the next-generation of targeted therapies for cancer.

“In oncology, we continue to build a strong portfolio of potential cancer therapies and we are also advancing our pipeline assets in rare diseases and personalised medicines.”

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