A major Chinese biopharmaceutical company is to create 400 jobs with a €325 million investment in Dundalk, Co Louth.
WuXi Biologics, a Hong Kong-listed global open-access biologics technology platform company, is to develop a new manufacturing facility on IDA Ireland’s greenfield site in Mullagharlin.
Headquartered in Wuxi City, China, the firm provides end-to-end solutions for biologics with a mission to accelerate and transform biologics discovery, development and manufacturing to benefit patients.
The facility will be built by deploying multiple single-use bioreactors for commercial biomanufacturing. It will be the world’s largest facility using single-use bioreactors, and will also be able to run continuous bioprocessing.
During the construction phase, the project is expected to support up to 700 jobs in the building industry. The facility, which will be company’s first site outside of China, will be built on a 26-hectare campus.
WuXi Biologics chief executive Dr Chris Chen said the facility would be a “critical part” of the company’s global biomanufacturing network.
“We are all excited to initiate our first global site to enable local companies and expedite biologics development in Europe,” he said. “In addition, this is the start and a critical part of our global biomanufacturing network to ensure that biologics are manufactured to the highest quality and with a robust supply chain to benefit patients worldwide.
“We are committed to Ireland, and will work with all local partners to build this state-of-art next generation biomanufacturing facility as a showcase to the global biotech community.”
WuXi vice-president of manufacturing Brendan McGrath said: “Our view is that we wanted to get closer to our customers, and we want to be able to offer a service to customers in Europe that is unmet at the moment.”
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the development was “the start of something special”.
“We will see the factory of the future right here in Dundalk,” he said. “It’s the first sizable greenfield project from China in the pharma sector, and I am delighted to see it located here in Dundalk.
“It’s also the latest in a number of investments in this town which has become a hub for a range of sectors, mainly in the new knowledge based and pharmaceutical sectors. Louth hosts National Pen, PayPal, Xerox, Wasdell and Prometric, to name just a few.”
IDA Ireland chief executive Martin Shanahan said the investment was "a significant win" for the Republic.
“It also shows that our strategy of market diversification is working. WuXi Biologics is a strong addition to Ireland’s growing cluster of next-generation biopharmaceutical companies, and will be an excellent reference seller for new greenfield Asia Pacific investment into Ireland.”