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Alexion expands in Ireland with new biofacility

New manufacturing facility should be ready in the next four years

Soliris pack shot 

Rare disease specialist Alexion has committed to build a €450m ($507m) biologics manufacturing facility in Ireland, its first outside the US.

Fresh from announcing an $8.4bn takeover bid for US company Synageva that expands its rare disease pipeline, Alexion has said it will expand its Blanchardstown operations in Dublin with a new biologics facility that should be operational within four years.

The investment marks the first major expansion in Ireland by the former US company, which became domiciled there after completing a tax-inversion deal that involved the purchase of a fill-and-finish unit in Athlone as well as laboratories, packaging and warehousing operations at the College Park site in Blanchardstown in 2013.

At the moment Alexion's only marketed drug is $2bn-seller Soliris (eculizumab) for two rare blood conditions. It is however hoping to add a second from its own stable later this year - Strensiq (asfotase alfa) for hypophosphatasia (HPP) - as well as Kanuma (sebelipase alfa) for lysosomal acid lipase deficiency (LAL D) if the Synageva deal goes through as planned.

The new facility in Blanchardstown will "support the production and distribution of our medicine, Soliris, and our strong pipeline of biologics medicines," said Julie O'Neill, executive vice president of global operations at Alexion.

It is expected to create around 200 additional full-time jobs upon completion, taking Alexion's total headcount in Ireland to around 500 out of a worldwide total of approximately 2,400. Since 2013 the company has spent around €130m at Athlone and College Park.

Martin Shanahan, CEO, IDA Ireland, said the investment is "one of the largest investments in healthcare in the history of the Irish state". 

Since the start of the year, Valeant subsidiary Bausch + Lomb, Regeneron, Zimmer and ABEC have announced expansions to their Irish operations, while Horizon Pharma opened a global corporate headquarters in Dublin.

Novartis opens Polish unit

Meanwhile, Novartis' generics subsidiary Sandoz has opened a packaging facility in Poland that will be used to support production at its plant in Stryków, one of the biggest in Sandoz' network. The 171m zloty ($50m) new facility will create 130 new jobs at the site, which currently employs 5450 workers.

Article by
Phil Taylor

12th May 2015

From: Sales

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