Waterford cityscape from across the River Suir. You can see a row of colourful buildings and a tall church steeple.
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Jobs boost for Waterford as Horizon acquires drug-manufacturing facility

17 Jun 2021

Horizon Therapeutics will take over an EirGen Pharma site, creating a new manufacturing operation that will employ about 90 people.

Biotech company Horizon Therapeutics has announced plans to expand its Irish operations through the purchase of an existing Waterford drug-manufacturing facility, currently operated by EirGen Pharma.

The expansion will create up to 50 new jobs, with some 40 of EirGen’s employees also transferring to Horizon as part of the process. The new operation, which will produce drug product for Horizon’s rare, autoimmune and severe inflammatory disease portfolio, is located in IDA Ireland’s business park in Waterford.

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Horizon’s expansion in Waterford is supported by the Irish Government through IDA Ireland.

Speaking about the announcement, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said: “This is very welcome news, and the employment will be of significant benefit to Waterford and the broader south-east region. It’s great to see a company with an established presence expanding its Irish operations in a regional location. It demonstrates Horizon’s commitment to Ireland and will allow the company to avail of the rich talent pool in this sector in the region.”

IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan said: “I am delighted Horizon has chosen to establish its first in-house manufacturing facility in Waterford. Horizon is one of the next generation of high-growth biotech companies and this substantial investment is another positive development in Ireland’s growing biopharma industry.”

As well as the jobs and economic benefits of this project brings to Waterford and the region, Shanahan noted that Horizon will add to the growing pharmaceutical cluster in the south-east. As well as EirGen, MSD, Teva, and Sanofi are all located in the area.

“I wish Horizon every success with this new manufacturing facility in Waterford and wish EirGen Pharma continued success with its Irish operations in Waterford where they are a substantial and valued employer,” said Shanahan.

Founded in 2008, Horizon established its global headquarters in Dublin in 2014 following the combination of the businesses of Horizon Pharma and Vidara Therapeutics International.

The company’s Irish operations, located in Connaught House in Dublin, has grown to more than 100 people. As well as its role as global headquarters, Horizon’s Irish operations incorporate several key functions including technical operations, finance, legal and R&D.

Speaking about the project today, Horizon’s chair, president and CEO Tim Walbert said: “Adding to our strong network of contract manufacturing organisations, this facility will also play an important role in our global expansion. We look forward to leveraging our existing technical operations expertise in Ireland, along with the expertise of the EirGen employees, to build a robust and effective manufacturing operation that will enable us to meet the unmet needs of people impacted by rare diseases around the world.”

EirGen Pharma CEO Damien Burke said: “It is a progressive move for both parties and for Waterford … It will also offer additional career opportunities for both companies within the life sciences industry to Waterford.”

Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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