Pfizer to create up to 350 jobs in Grange Castle expansion
US pharma giant expects to invest up to €400 million in west Dublin biopharma plant
Pfizer plans to build a five-storey biopharma manufacturing unit in two phases, adding more than 34,500sq m to its current footprint on what is already one of the largest biotechnology plants in the world. Photograph: Andrew Kelly/Reuters
The US company is looking to build a five-storey biopharma manufacturing unit in two phases, adding more than 34,500sq m to its current footprint on what is already one of the largest biotechnology plants in the world.
According to an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) filed with the planning permission, the first phase of the expansion will deliver 200 new jobs when fully operational, on top of the 1,100 currently working there.
A further 100 people are expected to be employed following the completion of the second phase.
“The facility will employ a total of up to 1,450 personnel once fully operational,” the report states.
Up to 1,250 construction workers will be employed at the site during the construction phase of the project though up to 250 of these are people involved in “regular on-going process fit-out works on other buildings on site”.
According to the documents, the expansion will take between 24 and 27 months to complete once excavation begins. That is expected to be some time next year. Securing regulatory approval for biopharma production means the new facilities are not expected to be operational until 2020.
The project amounts to an investment of between €300 million and €400 million on the former Wyeth site which produces some of Pfizer’s biggest drugs, including the arthritis blockbuster Enbrel and the vaccine Prevenar, which is used in children to prevent pneumococcal infections.
The EIS says the proposed expansions “will increase manufacturing capacity for a specific drug substance, Enbrel, by approximately 50 per cent”. However, it will not be used exclusively for production of the arthritis drug.
Grange Castle is a 36-hectare site, of which 16 hectares is currently undeveloped. While the proposed expansion will use much of this space, the EIS says that the site had been previously “master planned” for a doubling of the existing biopharmaceutical manufacturing activity as well as future fill/finish operations.
The documents indicate that Pfizer has future plans for a fill/finish operation and R&D activities on the site at a future date. It also, “subject to emerging needs”, has provision in its site masterplan for a further manufacturing facility and more warehousing.
The Environment Impact Study says the intention is that the new facility will be operated principally on a single-shift basis but it will be able to accommodate three shifts a day working seven days a week if demand requires.
Pfizer, which has had a presence in Ireland since 1969, and currently employs more than 3,300 people across seven sites in Cork, Dublin, Kildare and Sligo, has said it intends to seek a 10-year permission for the development.