Thermo Fisher snaps up GSK site in Ireland as part of its expansion campaign

Thermo Fisher will continue to make active pharmaceutical ingredients for GlaxoSmithKline at this site in Cork, Ireland, after it completes a deal to buy it for €90 million. It will take on the 400 GSK employees working there. (Thermo Fisher/GlaxoSmithKline)

Thermo Fisher Scientific, which has been rapidly expanding its drug production, has yet another operation in its sights. It has struck a deal to buy a GlaxoSmithKline active pharmaceutical ingredient site in Ireland for €90 million in cash.

Waltham, Massachusetts-based Thermo Fisher will pick up the 400 employees at the Cork, Ireland, site, which has 270 cubic meters of reactor capacity, 10 production buildings, an R&D pilot plant and labs, the company announced today.

The operation makes specialized ingredients for GSK drugs that target diseases including cancer, depression and Parkinson’s. After the deal closes by the end of the year, Thermo Fisher will continue to produce APIs for GSK.

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"The GSK Cork site will enhance our API offering by expanding our development and commercial capabilities to provide much-needed capacity for APIs currently in development," Michel Lagarde, Thermo Fisher president of Pharma Services, said in a statement.

RELATED: Patheon, built on a series of acquisitions, is snapped up by Thermo Fisher in $7.2B deal

In an emailed statement, GSK said the sale to Thermo Fisher will provide certainty for the employees at the Cork site.

"Due to strategic changes in the GSK portfolio and emerging pipeline, the Cork site had been significantly underutilized and it became clear that the site was no longer a competitive fit within GSK’s manufacturing network," Site Director Mike O’Sullivan said in a statement. “As well as providing immediate certainty, we believe the sale will leave the site well positioned for future growth and development.”

It is the second plant in the last year GSK has said it would offload. In August, the U.K. company said that over the next three years it will close a skincare products plant in Sligo, Ireland, and lay off its 165 workers.

Thermo Fisher said it intends to expand production at the Cork site in line with its other expansion plans. The agreement comes shortly after it completed a $1.7 billion cash deal for viral vector producer Brammer Bio, which gave it a solid foothold in the quickly expanding market for cell- and gene-based treatments.

It also is investing $150 million to expand its sterile fill-finish sites in Monza and Ferentino, Italy, and in Greenville, North Carolina, and says it will complete a $50 million expansion of its St. Louis biologics facility later this year.

Thermo Fisher jumped into the contract manufacturing business in 2017 when it acquired CDMO Patheon in a $7.2 billion deal

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