US firm confirms plans to create 1,100 jobs in Co Cork

The world’s largest pharmaceutical company confirmed today it was establishing manufacturing facilities in Cork with the creation of 1,100 jobs.

The world’s largest pharmaceutical company confirmed today it was establishing manufacturing facilities in Cork with the creation of 1,100 jobs.

After much speculation, the California-based firm Amgen said it was investing more than $1bn (€820m) in projects at the Cork plant where more than 1,100 people will be employed by 2010.

Employment Minister Micheal Martin said the massive investment by Amgen in Carrigtwohill in the east of the county was an endorsement of Ireland as a major player in the industry.

The facilities, some of which the company expects to begin operating in 2009, will be producing medicine for the growing market in Europe and other parts of the world.

Mr Martin said: “This is a landmark decision and one which is welcomed not just by Cork but by all of Ireland. Investments of this scale speak volumes about Ireland’s ability to compete and win the most advanced and innovative business from the biggest biotechnology company in the world.”

The minister said the country was becoming a major player in the international biotechnology marketplace with many major investments already secured from world-leading companies in the industry.

Other major companies in the pharmaceutical industry have established bases in Ireland including Pfizer, Janssen, Eli Lilly and Novartis.

“This addition of the world’s biggest biotechnology company is a superb development and it was secured by IDA Ireland in the face of intense competition from other highly-competitive locations worldwide,” he said.

The investment is being seen as a major coup for the IDA whose officials beat off stiff competition from Switzerland and Singapore to land the multi-million euro investment.

Work on the projects will begin next year at the 133-acre greenfield site Carrigtwohill, with operations expected to begin in 2009.

Amgen works to develop 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 company considered several attractive sites in other countries and chose Ireland due to its thriving biotechnology community, infrastructure to support biologics manufacturing, emphasis on education, and attractive business climate, as well as the support we received from the Government and IDA Ireland,” Fabrizio Bonanni, senior vice president in manufacturing at Amgen, said.

“Our new facilities in Cork will enhance our ability to deliver on Amgen’s robust pipeline.”

Mr Bonanni said it chose the Cork site because as demand for the company’s products increases in Europe it required manufacturing facilities closer to the market.

Mark Sawyer, who is the senior director of engineering at Amgen’s Rhode Island site and has been working in the industry for 26 years, has been appointed as general manager of the Cork site.

Amgen is quoted on the Fortune 500 list of top American companies and employs 14,000 people worldwide in the manufacture and distribution of bio-pharmaceutical products.

Over the last five years, Amgen has invested more than $3bn (€2.4bn) to improve manufacturing facilities in the US with over 4,000 operations jobs created in the US since 2001.

The company also announced today that it intends to expand its existing research and development operations in Cambridge, Massachusetts, San Francisco, Seattle, and Cambridge, UK, and plans to build a new development centre in Uxbridge, UK.

The company, which was founded in 1980, said it was also working to bring its medicines into emerging markets in Central and Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America.

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