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Pfizer expands Xeljanz manufacturing capability in Ireland

Invests $130m in manufacturing in Dublin and Cork

ireland flagThe troubled life sciences sector in Ireland received a boost yesterday with the announcement that Pfizer will invest $130m in its manufacturing bases in the country.

The money will be split between the pharma company's Grange Castle site in Dublin, which is to receive $100m, and the Ringaskiddy site in Cork, which will get $30m.

The extra cash is intended to expand the capacity of each site so they can each produce more advanced and complex therapies that are either in late-stage development or have been recently launched.

Specifically, the Grange Castle site will be expanded to deal with the manufacture of the active ingredient for Pfizer's biologic rheumatoid arthritis treatment Xeljanz (tofacitinib citrate), which was approved in the US last year, although was later turned down for marketing approval in Europe.

According to Ireland's Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, which supported the investment through the investment agency IDA Ireland, Pfizer will be able to double productivity and use the expanded capability to develop other mammalian biotechnology drug substances.

Construction is expected to start soon, with 140 construction jobs to be created over the next year with a peak of 250 jobs. The facility is expected to be operations in 2015.

In Ringaskiddy, Pfizer's $30m investment will go towards developing capabilities to manufacture new and pipeline medmicines in cancer.

This includes developing R&D skills of site employees, and it is expected that the site will be in a position to be considered for on-going development work on new products for both commercial launch and clinical trial use.

Dr Paul Duffy, VP, Pfizer, explained the investment, calling the company's operations in Ireland “significant”.

“There is opportunity for Pfizer's Irish sites to attract the development of new medicines, while also continuing to manufacture existing, important medicines,” he added.

Ireland's Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, welcomed the deal as part of the country's Action Plan for Jobs to support business growth at a time of economic crisis for the country.

“Today's announcement that Pfizer is to invest $130m is confirmation that we are taking the right steps to ensure that Ireland is a key location for companies like Pfizer to expand and grow their business,” he said.

“I am determined to ensure that we build on such success and provide the opportunities for further growth in this sector and create the jobs we so badly need.”

The Action Plan for Jobs has also helped to encourage recent investment in Ireland from Mylan and Lilly, although the country still faces significant challenges in the life sciences industry.

This includes an earlier decision by Pfizer to cut 177 jobs in Cork to cope with declining demand for Lipitor, while Abbott, GSK and Alkermes have all made efforts to cut back in Ireland in the past year.

12th July 2013

From: Sales

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