Four years after the closure of Dell’s manufacturing plant in Limerick with the loss of 1,900 jobs the devastated site at Raheen Industrial Park is poised for a revival following investment from US pharmaceutical giant Regeneron.
The biopharmaceutical company is planning on redeveloping the facility in a €218m investment, creating 300 high-skill jobs and 600 construction jobs.
Limerick TD Michael Noonan, the finance minister, said: “The Regeneron investment ... is great news for Limerick and for the local economy. The company is making a major commitment to Ireland by refurbishing an unoccupied facility in Raheen Business Park. II look forward to meeting Regeneron senior executives when I travel to New York in January and discussing their plans for Limerick.”
IDA Ireland has been working to attract the company to Ireland for four years. The company will hire scientists, engineers, technicians and administrative personnel.
The investment will involve the major refurbishment of existing buildings on the Dell site and the construction of a quality control laboratory, which will transform the location into a world-class biopharmaceutical campus.
Construction and refurbishment is anticipated to begin in 2014 and be complete in 2016.
Company senior vice president Daniel Van Plew said the Limerick sitewould be its first production facility outside of the US.
“Regeneron is one of the largest and fastest-growing biopharmaceutical companies in the United States. Pending planning approval, Limerick will become our second industrial production site, expanding our manufacturing capacity into Europe and facilitating the delivery of a growing supply of medicines for patients worldwide.”
He said they choose Ireland as the site for the plant due to the history in the pharma sector and the country’s educated workforce. The company is already exploring partnering with universities.
“We hope to work with the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training and are already in discussions with the universities and colleges in Limerick about future possibilities. We see Limerick as a good place to do business — the area has excellent educational institutes, a strong community spirit and a solid transport infrastructure.”
Richard Bruton, the jobs minister, said the Government was targeting the pharma sector as part of its action plan for jobs.
“I am determined to build on this and secure further announcements like this over the coming months.”
IDA chief executive Barry O’Leary said the announcement was a sign of the country’s strength in the emerging biophrama field.
New York-based Regeneron markets medicines for eye diseases, colorectal cancer, and a rare inflammatory condition and has product candidates in development in other areas of high unmet medical need, including hypercholesterolemia, oncology, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and atopic dermatitis.
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