Alexion making €100M Ireland plant investment

Great Britain’s decision to bail on the European Union has raised questions about pharma investment on the continent but not stopped pharma companies from wanting to build manufacturing facilities in low-tax Republic of Ireland, at least not yet. For the second time in a week, a U.S. drugmaker has announced plans for expansion there. This time it is Soliris maker Alexion.

Cheshire, CT-based Alexion ($ALXN) today announced it would invest €100 million ($110.7 million) to expand its fill-finish facility in Athlone and add 50 jobs, which will double the workforce there, the Irish Times reports.

Julie O’Neill, Alexion’s executive VP for for global operations, said the company needed more capacity “to support increasing production needs.” She said the drugmaker was committed to manufacturing in the country.

That commitment includes a $500 million investment in a biologics plant it is building in Dublin. Between the two facilities, Alexion has said it expects to have about 500 employees in the country by the end of 2019.

Pfizer is also looking at expanding a biologics facility in Dublin. The New York drugmaker two days ago confirmed it was filing plans with local authorities for an expansion that is based on “continued successful clinical development of investigational compounds in Pfizer’s mid and late stage pipeline." The drugmaker gave no details on that project, but Pfizer says its Grange Castle site is already one of the largest biologics manufacturing facilities in the world.

The U.K.’s vote two weeks ago to separate from the EU has roiled financial markets and weakened the pound and the euro in relation to the dollar. It has worried many in the EU that the historic decision will put a damper on development in the U.K. and Europe.

- read the Irish Times story

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