Lilly adds to Irish ops with $440M plant

Irish officials may be worried about drug exports bottoming out with the patent cliff--and with good reason. But Eli Lilly ($LLY) has given the pharma industry there a new boost: The U.S.-based company plans to sink €330 million, or $440 million, into a new plant on its Cork campus, creating 200 jobs.

The 240,000-square-foot facility will augment a biopharmaceutical manufacturing and commercialization operation on the campus that came online in 2010. Lilly's decision to invest there again "is an endorsement of the ... site's success," general manager Ed Canary said. "This is in no small part due to the site's excellent performance record, the talent of the workforce, and the support from IDA Ireland," he added. IDA Ireland is the country's agency focused on recruiting foreign investment.

Lilly's new commitment to Ireland could help offset a big loss. The company's antipsychotic drug Zyprexa goes off patent later this year, and it's made at an Irish plant. Losing sales of that megablockbuster to generic competition won't just hit Lilly, but will take a bite out of Ireland's export numbers. The country's exports immediately suffered from generic competition to Pfizer's ($PFE) cholesterol pill Lipitor, which went off patent at the end of November. And when exports decline, so do corporate tax revenues.

- read the release from IDA Ireland
- see the story in the Irish Times
- get more from the Financial Times