A New York-based biopharmaceutical company is to apply for planning permission to establish a production plant in Limerick, which if approved would lead to the creation of 300 high-skilled jobs within three years.
The facility planned by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals would be built at a 12 hectare site, previously owned by computer maker Dell, at the Raheen Business Park in the city. Regeneron is one of the largest and fastest growing biopharmaceutical companies in the US, which develops medicines for a range of illnesses, including eye diseases and colorectal cancer. For four years, the IDA has been working to attract it to invest here.
The company is to seek planning permission for a $300m investment the Limerick city site, which has been vacant since 2009. The project, if approved, would see the conversion of existing buildings into a European manufacturing facility for the company and the construction of a quality control laboratory. 600 temporary construction jobs would be created during the two-year build, and a further 300 permanent positions for scientists, engineers and technicians by the end of 2016.
The company says factors attracting it to Ireland include the educated workforce and the strong biopharma sector. The announcement has been welcomed by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, whose department is supporting the investment through the IDA.
“Regeneron is one of the largest and fastest-growing biopharmaceutical companies in the United States,” said Daniel Van Plew, Regeneron’s Senior VP & GM of Industrial Operations and Product Supply. “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.”
Van Plew continued, “Ireland has a highly educated work force and a strong biopharma industry while the Irish Government has an unparalleled commitment to education and training for pharmaceutical manufacturing, quality assurance, quality control and supply logistics. We hope to work with the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research & Training (NIBRT) 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. We are grateful to IDA Ireland for its support in helping us secure this facility and we look forward to playing an active role in Ireland’s biopharma sector and building strong relationships with key stakeholders.”
Welcoming the announcement, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, TD said, “Sustaining and building on Ireland’s strong track record in pharmaceuticals is a key objective of our Action Plan for Jobs. In recent years despite global difficulties employment in the sector in Ireland has been growing. Today’s announcement that subject to planning permission, Regeneron plans to establish a major operation in Limerick with the creation of 300 jobs is another significant jobs boost for the sector and for the city. With Regeneron confirming its intention to establish operations in Ireland, IDA Ireland with the support of my Department has now secured nine of the top ten global BioPharma companies to locate major facilities in Ireland. I am determined to build on this and secure further announcements like this over the coming months.”
The Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD said, “The Regeneron investment in Limerick 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, creating a substantial number of both construction and long-term permanent jobs. I welcome Regeneron to Limerick and offer the company my enthusiastic support. I look forward to meeting Regeneron senior executives when I travel to New York in January and discussing their plans for Limerick.”
Commenting on the announcement, Barry O’Leary, CEO of IDA Ireland said, “Regeneron’s decision to locate this strategically important investment here is a clear endorsement of Ireland’s recognised strengths in the pharma and BioPharma field. BioPharma companies like Regeneron are currently developing and manufacturing the “next generation” of medicines. This activity represents the cutting edge of innovative drug development and requires skilled, highly qualified staff. This announcement is a reflection of the attractiveness of Limerick and the Mid-West region to leading global investors. Regeneron joins a thriving life science sector in the region which offers excellent employment opportunities and makes a substantial contribution to the local economy. IDA Ireland took a strategic decision to target the biopharma sector in recent years.”