Ministers hail €450m pharma plan in Dublin

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton has hailed plans by US company Alexion Pharmaceuticals to invest €450m in expanding its facility in west Dublin as one of the largest healthcare investments ever made in the State.

The investment will create 800 construction jobs over the next four years in building the facilities and 200 long-term jobs when the 20,000sq m plant at College Park, Blanchardstown, is completed.

The project marks one of the largest pharmaceutical projects attracted by the IDA to Ireland. Alexion, which came to Ireland only two years ago, already employs about 170 staff at a base in Athlone and at the first phase of its College Park global supply chain facility at Blanchardstown.

It plans to employ a total of 500 full-time staff in Ireland in the next few years.

The first phase of the west Dublin facility will include laboratories, packaging, and warehousing when it opens this year.

Mr Bruton said Ireland has already enjoyed huge success in attracting “a cluster” of jobs-rich biopharma investments and the Government “was determined to build on this success.”

“The knock-on impact of this massive €450m investment for the wider economy will be enormous,” he said.

The facility will be Alexion’s first so-called biologics manufacturing facility outside the US.

“This is one of the largest investments in healthcare in the history of the Irish State — putting an additional €450m into a site is a real statement of intent from Alexion,” said IDA Ireland chief executive Martin Shanahan.

The IDA is targeting other leading life-sciences and would “capitalise on Ireland’s position as one of the top destinations in the world for pharmaceutical companies”.

Investments by life-sciences is one of the key parts of an IDA strategy to attract thousands of jobs in the coming years. Earlier this year, it said it plans to create 80,000 jobs over the next five years and increase the number of people employed by overseas’ firms in Ireland to 209,000. It aims to win 900 foreign direct investment projects by 2019.

Blanchardstown will help support the manufacturing and distribution of Alexion’s Soliris medicine product and other biologic medicines that treat chronic diseases.

“We are already serving the very few patients in Ireland suffering from two very rare and devastating diseases. With this major expansion, our Irish operations, comprising biologics manufacturing, vial fill-finish, and global supply chain, will be at the forefront of this vital work globally,” said Julie O’Neill of Alexion.


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