Bristol Myers blueprints $400M Ireland expansion with plans to add sterile drug firepower and hire 350

Bristol Myers Squibb’s first drug substance facility outside the United States is now set to become the company’s inaugural sterile drug product (SDP) facility in Europe, thanks to a multi-million-dollar expansion expected to add hundreds of new jobs in the coming years.

BMS is plotting a $400-million SDP investment at its Dublin 15 Cruiserath campus in Ireland, which will be used to crank out existing medicines and serve as a “launch excellence facility” for pipeline products in the future, the company said in a recent press release.

Construction at the site, which will tackle manufacturing across BMS’ oncology, immunology, and hematology businesses, is expected to kick off in March. BMS plans to wrap up the project by 2026.

BMS plans to create 350 new roles in Ireland concurrently with the plant build-out, thereby increasing the total number of employees at the Cruiserath campus to over 1,000.

The site’s new sterile drug capabilities will build on the Cruiserath campus’ existing biologic manufacturing operations for bulk drug substance, BMS explained, noting the project will “significantly” expand manufacturing and laboratory capacity at the facility.

“This investment will expand our capacity for aseptic drug products, reinforce stable production for global supply, and accelerate the development and commercialisation of innovative biologic therapies alongside other pipeline medicines,” Padraig Keane, VP of Cruiserath Biologics, said in a statement.

BMS constructed the original Cruiserath drug substance facility between 2016 and 2017, the company explains on its website. At the time, BMS’ outlay of approximately $1 billion represented the “largest ever capital investment for the company.”

The site features a multi-product cell culture (MPCC) building for manufacturing drug substance plus a global biologics laboratory for the release testing of biologic drug products. Cruiserath also boasts a warehouse, lab and office space, among other amenities.

The Emerald Isle has proven an attractive destination for biopharma manufacturing in recent years.

In late December, Novo Nordisk unveiled plans to construct a sprawling manufacturing campus in Athlone, Ireland, 120 kilometers east of Dublin, in a bid to boost supply of its GLP-1 drugs Ozempic and Wegovy. Novo revealed the plan after confirming that it purchased an Alkermes pill factory in Athlone for 85 million euros (about $92.5 million).

A few months before that in September, Japan’s Astellas said it would invest 330 million euros ($354 million) in a new manufacturing facility in the Kerry Technology Park in Tralee. The site, which is expected to kick off operations in 2028, will become Astellas’ third manufacturing plant in Ireland and the second in County Kerry.