Pharmaceutical and Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Advances in Ireland - Pharmaceutical Technology

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Pharmaceutical and Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Advances in Ireland
Ireland seeks to maintain a leading position in pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical manufacturing as it also builds its base in research.


Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 32, Issue 1

In 2007, GlaxoSmithKline announced it is investing up to EUR 250 million ($370 million) over five years in its production site at Currabinny, County Cork to manufacture products, including lapatinib, the API in "Tykerb," a new oral treatment for advanced breast cancer. GlaxoSmithKline is also investing up to EUR 14.6 million ($21.6 million) in a collaboration with the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience and the National University of Ireland (Galway) on a R&D program for discovering new therapies to treat Alzheimer's disease.

Also, in 2007, Baxter International (Deerfield, IL) announced plants to invest EUR 75 million ($111 million) during a six-year period as part of a strategic program to introduce new technologies and higher value products to its manufacturing plants in Castlebar and Swinford, County. Mayo. This investment establishes development and innovation capability for enhancing therapies for treating patients with renal failure, introduces new generation manufacturing processes, upgrades existing manufacturing facilities and advanced drug delivery and packaging systems, and provides for reskilling of its existing workforce. The Castlebar plant produces continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis for kidney dialysis treatment and intravenous medication solutions. The Swinford operation manufactures medical accessories for renal therapy.

Genzyme (Cambridge, MA) announced plans to investment as much as EUR 20 million ($30 million) for additional product and process development facilities at its manufacturing campus in Waterford. Genzyme currently manufactures three products—"Renagel" (sevelamer) tablets and "Cerezyme" (imiglucerase) and "Thymoglobulin" (anti-thymocyte globulin [rabbit]) injections at its Waterford-based fill–finish facility. Genzyme is planning up to six product introductions in the next few years, both biologics and oral dose, which would bring the total number of products supplied from the Waterford facility to nine, according to a 2007 IDA press release.

Also, Gilead Sciences (Foster City, CA) invested EUR 62 million ($92 million) in acquiring and upgrading a facility in Cork.

These projects, announced in 2007, follow several major projects unveiled in 2006. In 2006, Eli Lilly announced a EUR 400-million ($592-million) investment by for a biopharmaceuticals manufacturing facility at its existing site in Dunderrow, Kinsale, County Cork. The Kinsale facility manufactures the active ingredients for several Lilly pharmaceuticals, including "Zyprexa" (olanzapine) for treating schizophrenia and "Evista"(raloxifene) for osteoporosis.

Merck Sharp & Dohme (Ireland) Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck & Co., announced in 2006 an investment of EUR 100 million ($148 million) for a formulation R&D and manufacturing facility in Ballydine.

Servier (Paris, France) announced an investment of EUR 184 million ($272 million) for a new high-value manufacturing pharmaceutical facility at Belview, County Kilkenny and an expansion of its existing operation in Arklow, County Wicklow. The investment breaks down as EUR 115 million ($171 million) for a bulk active pharmaceutical ingredients facility at Belview. It will manufacture half the active ingredients for four products for treating osteoporosis, depression, angina, and hypertension and will supply both the Arklow facility and the parent company with its products. The facility will also act as a strategic back-up facility to the company's main plant in France and a new product launch site where Servier plans to manufacture 50% of all new products emerging from R&D. Servier is also investing EUR 69 million ($102 million) to expand its Arklow facility to increase production of existing products.

One potential setback for Ireland is Amgen's (Thousand Oaks, CA) decision in October 2007 to indefinitely postpone its planned design and build-out of a bulk manufacturing facility in County Cork. Amgen had announced earlier in January 2006 plans to invest more than $1 billion in new process development, bulk manufacturing, and fill–finish facilities in Cork. Amgen said in October 2007 that it will not have an active work force in Cork in 2008. The company said the decision was based purely on developments relating to Amgen's global business and was no way reflective of the business environment in Ireland or of the high caliber staff it had hired. For the foreseeable future, Amgen has retained ownership of the property in Cork.


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