US biopharma giant Eli Lilly and Co has announced a $1bn (€927m) investment in a medicine manufacturing site in Limerick, which it said will deliver almost 1,500 new jobs.
Lilly already employs almost 2,700 people at Kinsale and Little Island, Co Cork. It said it aims to generate 1,200 jobs during the construction phase of its Limerick campus in Raheen and create 300 new jobs once it is fully operational.
The announcement was welcomed by Enterprise, Trade, and Employment Minister Simon Coveney at a launch event on the Raheen site on Monday.
Lilly said its Limerick site will operate at 35% lower energy intensity, use 40% less water, and produce 15% less waste when compared to traditional pharma manufacturing sites.
Lilly chief executive and chairman David Ricks said the 140-year-old company had united caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world, by bringing life-changing medicines to patients who need them and giving back to communities.
“The Limerick manufacturing site will be a fully integrated digital site with the latest machine automation, manufacturing execution, and data technologies designed to ensure product and data quality, and its integrated design will enable manufacturing excellence for the production and delivery of quality medicine,” read a statement released by Lilly.
The new facility will aim to “expand Lilly’s manufacturing network for biologic active ingredients”, it said.
Since 1978 Lilly has had a growing presence in Ireland, forging close links “between the life sciences industry, communities, and universities with strong science, technology, engineering, and maths (Stem) programmes in Limerick and across the country”.
Lilly said it has a “long-standing commitment to sustainability and respecting the local environment” and has established “environmental programmes” to monitor the quality of the ambient air and the local marine habitat at its Kinsale plant.
“Lilly Limerick has already developed a comprehensive plan for the management of the protected species of Meadow Barley (Hordeum secalinum) plant which is growing on the Raheen site.”
In July 2021, it opened what was at that time the “single largest solar farm in the Republic of Ireland” on 16 acres in Kinsale.
The solar farm “now helps to power a portion of the Kinsale manufacturing facility with sustainable energy, reducing its annual carbon footprint at the site by 2,350 tonnes per annum”.
Lilly said its Limerick campus design also includes plans for a “significant solar energy investment”.
“Based on current design estimates, Limerick is estimated to produce 3.17m kWh of renewable solar energy per year, which is enough to power 755 homes in Ireland,” it said.
The Limerick site design also includes “an array of cisterns that will harvest rainwater for re-use within the site, resulting in a saving of roughly 2m litres of water per annum”.