Horizon moves into direct manufacturing with a $65m deal for EirGen’s plant

Some 40 EirGen staff to transfer over to Horizon with 50 new roles also to be created

Horizon Therapeutics is to buy EirGen Pharma's Co Waterford-based drug product manufacturing facility in a $65 million (€54.5 million) deal.

The move, which represents Horizon’s first move directly into manufacturing, will see 40 employees from Eirgen transferring to the company with another 50 people to be recruited over the next 18 months.

Horizon said the acquisition is aimed at supporting growth. The site, which is located in an IDA Ireland business park, includes a filling line and lyophiliser, or freeze dryer, that can be used for both Horizon's commercial medicines - including its rare disease biologics Tepezza, Krystexxa and Uplizna – as well as for development compounds.

The company said it will liaise with the Health Products Regulatory Agency (HPRA) and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to obtain licensing for sterile fill finish manufacturing. It anticipates the first medicine approved for release in approximately two years.

"With the successful Tepezza launch, ongoing Krystexxa growth and the growth of our marketed medicine portfolio and pipeline, it is the right time to add in-house manufacturing capabilities," said Tim Walbert, chairman, president and chief executive, Horizon.

“Adding to our strong network of contract manufacturing organizations, this facility will also play an important role in our global expansion,” he added.

Horizon Therapeutics is a Nasdaq-quoted pharma company that is focused on medicines that address critical needs for peoples suffering from rare and rheumatic diseases. The company specialises particularly in treatments for arthritis, pain and inflammatory disease.


Under the terms of the agreement, Horizon will acquire the 44,000 square foot facility for a $65 million up-front cash payment. In addition, there is adjacent IDA land available for further manufacturing and development expansion.

The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the third quarter.

Horizon has been headquartered in Dublin since 2014 and the company is currently fitting out a new 62,000 square foot headquarters facility at 70 St Stephens Green.

EirGen, which was founded in 2005 by Patsy Carney and Tom Brennan, was acquired by US drugs firm Opko for $135 million in 2015.

The company will continue to develop oral solid dose technology for R&D and commercial supply to global markets from its facility at Westside Business Park in Waterford city. In a statement, Opko said it remains “fully invested in supporting the growth and development of its core EirGen business in Waterford.”

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist