Pfizer has confirmed plans to invest more than €1 billion in its Grange Castle manufacturing facilities in Dublin, adding between 400 and 500 jobs over the next five years, the largest single pharmaceutical sector investment in the history of the State.
The pharma giant said on Thursday that the €1.2 billion investment will fund the construction of a new manufacturing facility on the existing site and will “significantly expand” the company’s footprint, doubling its capacity to produce biologics, powerful drugs used in the treatment of a range of diseases including inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis and cancers.
Once Pfizer receives planning permission, it expects to begin work at the site in 2024 with a view to completing the project – currently at the preliminary design phase – in 2027.
Pfizer invested €40 million last year to integrate the Grange Castle facility with its global Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing network. The plant was one of the company’s first to produce the mRNA drug substance, the essential active ingredient for the company’s Covid vaccine. That technology is a key element of several drugs in the Pfizer pipeline, including a flu vaccine on which the company is running a late-stage clinical trial.
The facility also produces some of Pfizer’s biggest biologics drugs, including the arthritis blockbuster Enbrel and the vaccine Prevenar, used in children to prevent pneumococcal infections.
Pfizer has 112 drugs in its development pipeline, many of them biologics used in the treatment of conditions ranging from inflammatory bowel disease to lupus and metastatic breast cancer.
The company has 39 manufacturing sites globally, including three in Ireland: Grange Castle; Newbridge, Co Kildare; and Ringaskiddy, Co Cork.
It has invested about €1 billion in its Irish portfolio of sites over recent years, including the $40 million (€38 million) mRNA line investment in Grange Castle, bringing its investment to date in the State to about $9 billion. The company now employs 5,000 staff in its Irish business.
“We are very pleased about today’s announcement, as it significantly strengthens our operations in Ireland, where we have three high-performing and strategic manufacturing sites,” said Pfizer executive vice-president Mike McDermott in a statement.
“Grange Castle has played a critical role in our global Covid-19 vaccine network and this investment for non-Covid licensed and pipeline products will help to further expand the site’s broad and robust capabilities,” he said. “As this investment demonstrates, we continue to invest in our global manufacturing infrastructure to strive to bring much-needed medicines and vaccines to patients around the world, and to deliver the next scientific breakthroughs.”
Commenting on the announcement, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: “This is a really significant investment and jobs announcement by Pfizer – its biggest ever expansion in Ireland – and a considerable vote of confidence in the talent of our workforce, and our economy.
Despite a 6 per cent decline in revenues to $22.6 billion compared with the third quarter of 2021 – largely due to unfavourable currency movements – Pfizer last month reported strong financial results for the three months to the end of September.
The company raised its full-year revenue guidance for its Covid-19 vaccine, Comirnaty, by almost $2 billion to nearly $34 billion.