Rapidly growing Regeneron Pharmaceuticals ($REGN) is picking up a former Dell computer site in Ireland for a second manufacturing facility, even as it is in the midst of a major plant expansion in the U.S.
Word leaked out last month in the U.K. that Regeneron was negotiating with Dell. But according to Regeneron's recent quarterly financial filing, the company now has a preliminary deal to buy the 400,000-square-foot facility in Limerick. "We intend to renovate this facility to accommodate and support our growth, primarily in connection with expanding our manufacturing capacity to support our global supply chain," the company said in the 10-Q filing. The company has not said what it is paying for the site in Ireland, but the SEC filing says it expects to spend $250 million to $300 million on capital projects through next year, including buying and starting work on the plant in Limerick.
Peter Dworkin, vice president of corporate communications for Regeneron, pointed out Wednesday that figure includes the Limerick deal but also an $80 million plant expansion and office project in East Greenbush in Rensselaer, NY. The plant expansion includes adding two 10,000-liter bioreactors, boosting production capacity by 50%, Dworkin told FiercePharmaManufacturing in an emailed statement. The $300 million also includes a major project to add new offices and laboratories at its Tarrytown headquarters that it has not publicly put a price tag on, he said.
Dworkin said the acquisition in Limerick is pending local permits, which he said the company expects to get. "It will become a second manufacturing site, after our site in Rensselaer," he told FiercePharmaManufacturing. The company has yet to specify what products will be manufactured there, only saying that it will give it the added capacity it needs for the future. The company has three approved products right now with its foundation product being Eylea, the blockbuster drug for wet age-related macular degeneration. It also produces Arcalyst, a drug for a rare genetic disorder, as well as Zaltrap, a colorectal cancer drug, but neither of those are big sellers at this point. The company has other projects in its pipeline, and Dworkin said that the plant expansion in New York has more to do with their production needs than Eylea, which doesn't require a lot of capacity since only small amounts of the drug are required for injection.
This is the company's first facility outside of the U.S., and it will set Regeneron up for expansion there. "Ireland is part of the EU so obviously it gives us the opportunity to more closely supply our partners from Europe," Dworkin said. It will also be a big deal for Ireland, which has seen some significant contraction in drug manufacturing in the last few years. The Independent also says the facility Regeneron is buying was vacated when Dell moved production to Poland in 2009, cutting 1,900 jobs in the process. The computer maker still has about 1,000 people at the Limerick complex.