Shire to construct $400m biologics plant in Ireland; create 400 jobs

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Image: iStock
Image: iStock
Shire says it is investing $400m into a new manufacturing facility in County Meath in the latest boost for the Irish biopharma industry.

The investment will help expand the firm’s global biologics capacity and create 400 jobs at the new 120 acre site in Piercetown, County Meath.

“The Ireland site will be capable of manufacturing a broad range of our biologics products, such as our enzyme replacement therapies,”​ Shire spokesperson Brooke Clarke told this publication.

“Building our own facility will provide the necessary geographic diversification to meet the rapidly growing demand for our highly innovative products and robust pipeline.”

While Shire has tax residency and offices in Ireland, the Piercetown site will become the firm’s manufacturing presence in the country.

“We already have a strong team on the ground in Ireland, and are expanding our presence here due to its highly skilled workforce, excellence in life science research and development, and its track record in manufacturing excellence in biopharmaceuticals,”​ Clarke said.

She added the site itself would “include state-of-the art equipment to enable us to use multiple manufacturing processes,” ​but did not reveal if Shire intended to go fully disposable like at its Lexington, Massachusetts facility​ which makes the Gaucher disease drug VPRIV.

The site is expected to be operational by mid-2019.

Irish ayes

News of the investment was welcomed by Ireland’s Government, with Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton saying the scale of the investment “will have a major impact, and further validates Ireland’s position as a leading global location for biotechnology manufacturing and R&D.”

Over the past few years, Ireland has benefitted from a number of large investments in the biopharma space.

Bristol-Myers Squibb​ is constructing a $900m biologics plant in County Dublin, Alexion​ has invested $450m,  Regeneron​ has converted a former Dell plant into a biomanufacturing facility in County Limerick. Meanwhile Merck & Co.​, Pfizer​ and Eli Lilly​ have all invested heavily in their Irish networks.

“Ireland is an attractive location for many industries, but for the life sciences and biotechnology sectors in particular,”​ said Martin Shanahan, CEO of business development agency IDA Ireland. “These are sectors in which we excel and we are very pleased that Shire is building on its existing presence here with the development of a new campus at Piercetown, County Meath.”

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