US firm in €37m Cork boost

US firm in €37m Cork boost
Pictured at the announcement by BioMarin International Ltd that it is investing $43m (€37m) in a drug product filling project at its Shanbally, Co Cork facility, were from left, Mary Buckley, executive director, IDA Ireland; Mike O’Donnell, site director, BioMarin, Shanbally, Co Cork; Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney, and Robert Baffi, executive vice-president, BioMarin International. Pic: Adrian O’Herlihy

By Pádraig Hoare

A $43m (€37m) investment by US biopharmaceutical firm BioMarin that will see more than 50 jobs created has been hailed as “exactly the kind of economic growth needed in Cork”.

The California-headquartered producer of drugs for rare diseases said the investment would see the workforce at Shanbally near Ringaskiddy increase to more than 400 by 2020.

The firm, which bought the site from pharmaceutical company Pfizer, came to Cork in 2011. 

It said the new investment would enhance its manufacturing, packaging and labelling capability.

A planning application will be submitted in the coming weeks, said BioMarin, and it is anticipated an additional 100 jobs will be created onsite during the construction.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney said the firm committed to Cork during a difficult economic period post-recession.

“In 2011, when many of us were wondering what the future of the Irish economy was, BioMarin purchased this site from Pfizer at the time. Working with the IDA, they have now built over the last eight years an extraordinary presence here.

“By the end of 2020, there will probably be over 400 people on site, and will have invested over €200m, and that is after purchasing the site. 

"The technology and skillset here are second to none, and that is why they keep winning more business here. 

"This is exactly the kind of economic growth we want here in Cork, and is another reminder as a platform for research and trade, that Ireland is really in a very good place,” he said.

The firm’s executive vice-president Robert Baffi said: “During our seven years of operations at Shanbally we have seen tremendous growth at the site. 

"This expansion assures that an increasing amount of our commercial products will be manufactured at the site.”

BioMarin develops and commercialises medication for patients with serious and life-threatening rare and ultra-rare genetic diseases in 70 countries. 

Its portfolio consists of seven commercialised products, while it has multiple clinical and pre-clinical products.

Mr Baffi said it was anticipated that further development would take place in the coming years, with 10 acres of undeveloped space at the Shanbally site.

A quarter of BioMarin’s operations now take place in Ireland, he said.

The firm had revenues of $1.31bn in 2017.

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