Korean pharma firm SK Biotek invests in Ireland

SK Biotek has reached agreement to acquire one of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Irish manufacturing facilities; marking the first time a South Korean pharmaceutical firm has invested in Ireland.

No purchase price has been disclosed, but completion of the deal is expected during the final quarter of the year. SK Biotek is aiming to become a leading global contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO); a company which develops and makes treatments for other firms.

It is buying Bristol-Myers Squibb’s active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) manufacturing facility in Swords, Co Dublin, with the 350 employees at the plant transferring to the company.

“We have chosen to invest in Ireland because of the welcoming business environment and the exceptionally talented workforce, and we look forward to growing our presence in Swords in the coming years,” SK Biotek chief executive Junku Park said.

The move does not represent a downsizing of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Irish plans. It employs more than 800 people here, and will still have more than 600 Irish-based employees after selling out of Swords. It is investing around $1bn in biologics capabilities in Dublin and expects to complete construction of a new facility at Cruiserath by late 2019. The US pharma also has an external manufacturing facility in Blanchardstown and two warehouses supporting that role in Shannon.

IDA chief Martin Shanahan welcomed SK Biotek’s investment, noting Ireland “prides itself in delivering manufacturing excellence in the pharma industry”.


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