Limerick is to receive 300 highly skilled jobs by 2016 after biopharma giant Regeneron Pharmaceuticals this morning revealed a US$300m investment for a manufacturing facility on an 11.88-hectare site previously owned by Dell at Raheen Business Park.
Subject to planning approval from the local authority, the company expects to employ scientists, engineers, technicians and administrative personnel.
The proposed US$300m investment programme will involve the major refurbishment of existing buildings on the site (vacant since 2009) and the construction of a quality control laboratory, which will transform the site into a world-class biopharmaceutical campus.
Subject to a successful permit, construction and refurbishment is expected to begin in 2014 for a two-year period, generating up to 600 temporary construction jobs for local contractors.
New York-headquartered Regeneron Pharmaceuticals markets medicines for eye diseases, colorectal cancer, and a rare inflammatory condition, and has product candidates in development in other areas of high unmet medical need, including hypercholesterolemia, oncology, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and atopic dermatitis.
“Regeneron is one of the largest and fastest-growing biopharmaceutical companies in the United States," said Daniel Van Plew, Regeneron’s senior vice-president and general manager of Industrial Operations and Product Supply.
“Pending planning approval, Limerick will become our second industrial production site, expanding our manufacturing capacity into Europe and facilitating the delivery of a growing supply of medicines for patients worldwide.”
Van Plew also cited Ireland's highly educated workforce, strong biopharma industry, and the Irish Government's "unparallelled commitment" to education and training for pharmaceutical manufacturing, quality assurance, quality control and supply logistics.
“We hope to work with the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research & Training (NIBRT) and are already in discussions with the universities and colleges in Limerick about future possibilities. We see Limerick as a good place to do business – the area has excellent educational institutes, a strong community spirit and a solid transport infrastructure,” Van Plew said.
Ireland's Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton, TD, welcomed the investment news as a significant boost for the city of Limerick and the biopharma industry in Ireland.
“With Regeneron confirming its intention to establish operations in Ireland, IDA Ireland, with the support of my department, has now secured nine of the top 10 global biopharma companies to locate major facilities in Ireland,” Bruton said.
“I am determined to build on this and secure further announcements like this over the coming months,” he added.
Regeneron’s decision to locate this strategically important investment here is a clear endorsement of Ireland’s recognised strengths in the pharma and biopharma field, added IDA chief executive Barry O’Leary.
“Biopharma companies like Regeneron are currently developing and manufacturing the next generation of medicines. This activity represents the cutting edge of innovative drug development and requires skilled, highly qualified staff.
“This announcement is a reflection of the attractiveness of Limerick and the mid-west region to leading global investors. Regeneron joins a thriving life-science sector in the region which offers excellent employment opportunities and makes a substantial contribution to the local economy. IDA Ireland took a strategic decision to target the biopharma sector in recent years,” O’Leary added.
Pharma image via Shutterstock