WuXi Biologics says Ireland an attractive option post-Brexit, invests €325m

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Golden_Brown)
(Image: Getty/Golden_Brown)
The Chinese CDMO says it will build a biomanufacturing facility in Ireland with single-use bioreactors and continuous bioprocessing capabilities.

WuXi Biologics will build the €325m ($390m) site for commercial production with support from Ireland’s Industrial Development Authority (IDA) at the latter’s greenfield site in Mullagharlin, Dundalk, Co. Louth.

The 26-hectare campus will house a 48,000L fed-batch and 6,000L perfusion bioreactor capacity and enable continuous bioprocessing methods.

Ireland – which will house what WuXi Biologics says is the largest biomanufacturing plant to use single-use bioreactors – is an attractive investment option, because it will remain a Member State once the UK withdraws from the EU, Chris Chen, WuXi Biologics CEO told us.

Further, Ireland’s proximity to mainland Europe provides the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) “access to [the] EU market,” ​he said.

The investment is also designed to target US-based clients, he added.

IDA Ireland support

Neither Chen nor IDA Ireland provided details on "support" provided by the Irish Government authority, but an IDA spokesperson said the facility could encourage further international investment.

“This week’s announcement by WuXi Biologics represents a strong addition to Ireland’s growing cluster of next-generation biopharmaceutical companies and will be an excellent reference seller for new greenfield Asia Pacific investment into Ireland,” ​said the spokesperson.

Biopharma investment

With a low 12.5% corporate tax rate, Ireland has become a popular investment option​ for international companies, including biopharmaceutical firms.  

This year alone, biopharma-focused Abbvie​, ABEC​, and Merck Sharp & Dohme​ (MSD) – known as Merck & Co. in North America – have invested in facilities on the Green Isle. 

“While the US continues to be our largest source market for foreign direct investment, we believe that China offers Ireland significant potential for high value, employment and capital intensive investment into Ireland,”​ the spokesperson added.

IDA Ireland also said it supports WuXi’s decision to invest outside of the larger Dublin and Cork hubs: “The selection of a regional location is a strong endorsement of IDA’s regional strategy and property strategy to acquire and secure pre-approved planning for biopharma strategic sites.”

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