In $92.5M deal, Alkermes hands the keys to Ireland manufacturing plant to Novo Nordisk

As high-flying Novo Nordisk continues its global manufacturing expansion, the GLP-1 maker has expanded its reach with a $92.5 million plant buy from Alkermes.

The deal, which is expected to close in mid-2024, gives Novo the keys to Alkermes’ development and manufacturing site and its approximately 400 employees in Athlone, Ireland, the companies said in a press release

"The acquisition of the Athlone facility represents an expansion of Novo Nordisk's global manufacturing setup and will provide Novo Nordisk with additional development and manufacturing capacity for current and future oral products,” Novo’s senior vice president of product supply emerging technologies, Thilde G. Hummel Bøgebjerg, said in a statement.

The 400 employees Novo will bring on board have “valuable capabilities within oral drug development and manufacturing,” Bøgebjerg added. The staff switchover marks an “exciting opportunity for growth” for the employees, Alkermes CEO Richard Pops added.

For now, the companies will ink subcontracting agreements to continue “certain work” currently being performed at the plant for “a period of time” after the deal closes, which might continue through 2025.

Alkermes expects the deal to “drive operational efficiencies and enhance profitability over the long term” as the company prepares to roll into 2024 as a “pure-play neuroscience company” and focuses on “aligning our infrastructure and cost structure with the projected needs of the business,” Pops said in the release.

Now, the Irish company will continue to produce its products at its other manufacturing facility in Wilmington, Ohio. The Athlone site was Alkermes’ only plant in its home country.

Novo’s oral expansion into Ireland comes after a 16 billion Danish kroner (about $2.3 billion) commitment to upgrading its production site in Chartres, France. Alongside building out capacity, the plant will be equipped for aseptic production and finished production process as well as an expansion to its current quality control laboratory. 

That move came after the company invested more than 42 billion Danish kroner ($6 billion) to expand its facilities in Kalundborg, Denmark.

The improvements will ramp up production of current and future drugs for serious chronic diseases and help the company meet demand for its products including its popular GLP-1s, Novo said at the time.

CEO Lars Jørgensen has previously said the drugmaker will “continuously have to invest” in manufacturing capacity as competition in the obesity market heats up.