Regeneron doubles investment, adding 200 more jobs to plant in Ireland

Landmark at Eastview research campus in Tarrytown, NY

Flourishing and flush with cash, Regeneron is on a building and hiring spree. Today the drugmaker says it will more than double its investment and hire an additional 200 workers at a plant still under construction in Ireland. That comes even as it is adding space to its campus in Tarrytown, NY, where it expects its headcount this year to grow by 1,000.

Regeneron ($REGN) is converting a former Dell computer plant in Limerick, Ireland, into its first production facility outside of the U.S. What started out as a $300 million project needing 300 workers is morphing into a $650 million project that will require 500 workers, according to the Ireland Development Authority (IDA), which is helping support the project. Officials say the facility will be the largest biopharma plant in the country when it is complete at the end of 2017.

"With a growing portfolio of marketed medicines and an innovative pipeline rooted in cutting-edge science and technology, Regeneron is one of the fastest-growing global biopharmaceutical companies," Regeneron CEO Leonard Schleifer said in a statement. He said the Limerick facility will be essential to the drugmaker's expansion.

So far that expansion has been fueled by sales of Regeneron's eye drug Eylea which helped the company see a 50% growth in revenue in the second quarter to just shy of $1 billion. It has an FDA approval in the bag for Praluent, one of a new class of PCSK9 cholesterol drugs which it developed with Sanofi ($SNY) and a pipeline of promising meds.

To support that pipeline work, the drugmaker is also rapidly expanding at its campus in New York. It is expecting to have added 1,000 employees there this year, bringing the headcount to 4,000, from 3,000 at the end of 2014 and 2,300 at the end of 2013. To house all of those people it has added 116,200 square feet of office/lab space to its lease at the Landmark at Eastview research campus in Tarrytown, NY, about 30 minutes from Manhattan. That boosts its campus to 1.1 million square feet.

Regeneron's boom times stand in stark contrast to Japan-based Daiichi Sankyo, which reportedly is whacking up to 1,200 jobs in the U.S., about half its workforce in its stateside subsidiary. That comes as the drugmaker repositions itself in the face of the impending patent loss on its blood pressure drug Benicar. Its $2.6 billion in sales last year added up to more than 25% of the drugmaker's revenue.

- here's the IDA release

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