Pfizer expansion in Ireland would lead to 350 jobs

Pfizer HQ

Pfizer’s biologics manufacturing plant in Dublin is one of the largest in the world but will get bigger yet as the drugmaker expands the facility, in part, to up production of one of its biggest-selling drugs. The project will lead to 350 jobs, while allowing Pfizer to expand capacity for Enbrel, even as that drug faces biosimilar competition.

Pfizer ($PFE) earlier confirmed to FiercePharma that it was proposing to expand its Grange Castle site, but offered up no details. An Environmental Impact Study cited by the Irish Times, however, has outlined the New York drugmaker’s plans there. It said Pfizer will invest between €300 million and €400 million ($440.5 million) to build a 5-story, 34,500 square-meter (371,354 square-foot), biologics manufacturing unit. 

The project is planned to be completed in two phases, adding 200 jobs to Pfizer’s Ireland operations with the initial phase and another 100 jobs upon completion of the second. When fully operational, the report said the site will employ 1,450 people.

Pfizer indicated that assuming it gets approval for the expansion, it will start work next year and the expansion is slated to take between 24 and 27 months to complete, so it is shooting for it to be operational in 2020.  

This project follows Pfizer's announcement last month that it would spend $200 million to build a 175,000-square-foot facility at its campus in Andover, MA, also to produce complex biologics and vaccines.

While the Ireland expansion is not solely for production of Enbrel, the drugmaker said the larger facility would allow it to increase capacity of the drug by 50%. Enbrel is among the best sellers in the world, with revenues last year of $5.36 billion for Amgen ($AMGN) and Pfizer which share rights to the product. But its earnings potential is on the wane. They are expected to be down to $4.95 billion in 2020, as biosimilars outside the U.S. where Pfizer holds rights to the drug, gain ground. South Korea's Samsung Bioepis in January won European Commission approval for its copy and has already begun selling it in Norway.

- read the Irish Times story

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