Allergan adds 63 jobs to Irish site as it finishes €140M biologics plant

Allergan is adding 63 jobs at its Westport, Ireland, manufacturing site as part of the €65 million manufacturing investments to be made there and in Dublin this year. (Allergan)

Allergan has been battling with investors over whether it should strip CEO and Chairman Brent Saunders of one of those titles. But for now, Saunders is calling the shots, and that includes finishing a €140 million investment in a biologics manufacturing facility in Ireland.  

Dublin-based Allergan is putting the finishing touches on the biologics plant in Westport using some of its €65 million ($72.5 million) 2019 capital investment budget slated for its four manufacturing plants in Ireland. The facility is in the final stages of qualification and regulatory approvals before it starts commercial production, the company said.

Along with other investments in a microbiology and cell-based laboratory and in its eye products manufacturing facilities at Westport, the drugmaker is adding 63 jobs at the site.

“We are expanding capacity to meet global demand and we are advancing our R&D capabilities to meet the needs of the future for our business,” Paul Coffey, Allergan’s manager of the Westport plant, said in an announcement put out by the Ireland Development Agency. 

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Allergan also is using some of the 2019 allotment toward updates at its Clonshaugh solid dose manufacturing site in Dublin, which encompasses two manufacturing facilities. It says those improvements include expanding specialized manufacturing capabilities for the development and launch of new solid dose products currently in development.

The announcement about this year’s plans come just ahead of an investors' vote this week on whether it is time to split up leadership responsibilities at Allergan after the company has gone through a period of "chronic underperformance," as one hedge fund investor termed it. Allergan's share price has fallen more than 50% since the summer of 2015. Among other troubles, it now faces a challenger to its top-selling Botox.

The board has said it intends to make the split during the next CEO change, a position that satisfied at least one investor proxy adviser group that initially backed the breakup.