Bristol-Myers to build $900M biologics plant in Ireland

Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY), having already expanded its U.S. production to make more biologics with its facility in Devens, MA, will now erect its twin in Ireland. The New York drugmaker intends to build a 320,000-square-foot facility adjacent to a bulk manufacturing facility in Dublin.

The 30,000-square-meter project will have half a dozen 15,000-liter bioreactors and a purification area, as well as office and laboratory space. Between 350 to 400 workers will work at the plant when it is completed in 2019, the drugmaker said Friday in a statement. BMS plans to manufacture some of the many biological drugs it currently has under development. The difficult-to-manufacture drugs make up more than half of the drugs the company has in its pipeline.

While the exact cost of the facility has yet to be tallied, the drugmaker said it will be about the same as Devens, a plant where it has invested about $900 million in recent years to boost its biologics footprint. Its rheumatoid arthritis drug Orencia is manufactured at the 400,000-square-foot, 6-building complex, which opened in 2012. Bristol-Myers has more than 300 employees working there.

Large-molecule drugs are a growing portion of the meds being approved globally, leading drugmakers to undertake some hefty investments in production around the world. In 2012, Novartis ($NVS) started on a $500 million biologics plant in Singapore slated to open in 2016, while last year Roche ($RHHBY) launched a $900 million three-plant expansion project. Roche is building a new facility in Switzerland and expanding facilities in the U.S. and Germany to gear up for its growing biologic production needs.

- here's the announcement

Special Report: Top 10 best-selling cancer drugs of 2013