After the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced that it was to close its facility in Shanbally, Cork last year, BioMarin Pharmaceutical has announced it has bought the plant.
US-based biopharmaceutical firm BioMarin is to buy the facility at a cost of EU34m. It will create 100 jobs over the next five years; this will lead to a net gain of 35 jobs. IDA (Industrial Development Agency) Ireland said that it fully supported the investment. BioMarin’s work is concentrated on the treatment of rare diseases. The plant is a 133,000 square foot bulk biologics manufacturing facility. It used to be a state of the art EU190m bulk biologics manufacturing facility opened by Pfizer only in 2009
The company is to being to occupy the Shanbally plant in a phased transition, with a large proportion of its manufacturing activities tied to results of its ongoing Phase 3 clinical study for N-acetylgalactosamine 6-sulfatase (GALNS). The drug is to be used for the treatment of Mucopolysaccharidosis IVA (MPS IVA, also known as Morquio A Syndrome).
Ireland’s Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said increased investment in the pharmaceutical sector was crucial to lifting the country out of the economic crisis: “The pharmaceutical industry has developed into a particular strength of the Irish economy in recent years: most of the world’s leading companies in the field have a presence here and we have developed an industry which plays a global role out of all proportion to the size of our economy.”
Jean Jacques Bienaime, chief executive officer of BioMarin stated, “The new plant in Shanbally greatly expands our manufacturing capacity to accommodate our growing commercial portfolio and advancing clinical programs.”
After proposing a global restructuring of its operations last year in response to the worldwide recession, 6,000 Pfizer jobs have been cut all over the world. At the company’s plant in Kent, UK, 2,400 job losses were announced in February this year.
After Pfizer announced the closure of Shanbally and two other Irish plants last May, the vice-president of Pfizer Irish Manufacturing Dr Paul Duffy said he was confident of finding buyers for the plants. Since then, Amgen, the largest US biopharma business, has agreed to take over another of the mothballed plants in Dún Laoghaire.
Dr Duffy praised the work of IDA Ireland in finding a buyer for the Shanbally site, especially another new manufacturing investor.