Biopharma firm Regeneron acquired a 400,000sq ft plant from computer manufacturer Dell in Limerick back in July 2013 investing $300m (€265m) to convert it into a biomanufacturing site for biopharmaceuticals, including monoclonal antibodies.
Now the firm is looking to expand the site further by investing an additional $350m and adding a further 200 jobs to create by the end of 2017 a campus it says will “house the largest-scale bulk biologics production facility in Ireland.”
In March 2014, Regeneron denied rumours it was building a fill/finish plant in Limerick to support the biologics facility, but a spokesperson from the firm today told Biopharma-Reporter this latest investment would not be for fill/finish operations.
Instead, Hala Mirza said, the $350m will be used for “continued growth and expansion of the Industrial Operations and Product Supply (IOPS) bioprocessing site,” supporting the firm’s ever-growing portfolio through additional capacity.
Manufacturing “will include products from our marketed and innovative pipeline of therapies,” such as its mAb Praluent (alirocumab), which became the first anti-PCSK9 approved in the US in July.
Regeneron also makes the recombinant protein for (wet) age-related macular degeneration (AMD), Eylea (aflibercept), and has a number of mAb candidates in Phase II and III studies.
The news comes as a further boost for Ireland, which has become quite the hub for biomanufacturing.
Earlier this month, ABEC opened a facility making bioprocessing technologies citing demand from an Irish biopharma industry which has seen hundreds-of-millions of dollars’ worth of investments over the past few years from the likes of Pfizer, Merck & Co., and Bristol-Myers Squibbs.
“We believe Ireland is a unique and important market for the expansion of our IOPS organization,” Regeneron’s Mirza told us, due to the “English language, close proximity to our European collaborators and a high-quality, talented workforce.”
Martin Shanahan, CEO of the Irish IDA (Industrial Development Agency), said: “This $350 million investment announcement from Regeneron is a huge boost for the Mid-West Region.
“Biopharma is thriving as an industry in Ireland right now, and Regeneron is a prime example of this. This new facility will provide employment to people at all levels from science, engineering and admin backgrounds.”