Thermo Fisher Scientific to acquire GSK plant in Cork for €90m

Site’s 400 staff will transfer to new owners as plant continues to supply British pharma giant

Thermo Fisher Scientific has agreed to buy a manufacturing plant in Cork from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for €90 million in cash.

The sale sees the ownership of the site, including all facilities, business operations and approximately 400 employees transfer to Thermo Fisher.

“We believe this acquisition offers a more sustainable future for the Cork site and our highly talented employees,” said GSK’s Cork site director Mike O’Sullivan.

"Due to strategic changes in the GSK portfolio and emerging pipeline, the Cork site had been significantly underutilised and it became clear that it was no longer a competitive fit within GSK's manufacturing network. As well as providing immediate certainty, furthermore, we believe the sale will leave the site well positioned for future growth and development," he added.


Expanding capacity

Thermo Fisher Scientific said the facility will enable it to expand capacity to meet customer demand for the development and commercial manufacturing of complex active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for treating conditions such as cancer, depression and Parkinson's.

In operation since 1975, the manufacturing site currently produces the active ingredients for nine of GSK’s medicines.

Thermo Fisher Scientific, a leading contract development and manufacturing organisation for the pharmaceutical industry, said it is to continue to produce APIs for GSK under a multi-year supply agreement. It also plans to supply similar products to other companies as well.

The site contains 270 cubic metres of reactor capacity, 10 production buildings, an R&D pilot plant and lab infrastructure to support process development, scale-up and physical characterisation of APIs.

“We look forward to welcoming the GSK Cork employees to Thermo Fisher Scientific,” said Patrick Glaser, president of the drug substance business within the group’s pharma services business.


“We share a commitment to develop medicines that improve the lives of patients and their families. Becoming part of Thermo Fisher will ensure a bright future for the employees that have contributed so much to the success of GSK over the years,” he added.

Thermo Fisher employs about 70,000 employees globally and has annual revenues of more than $24 billion.

A subsidiary, Fisher Scientific, which is a supplier of lab equipment, lab chemicals, and lab safety products used in scientific research, has a facility in Ballycoolen, Dublin 15.

GSK employs about 1,700 people in Cork, Dungarvan, Dublin and Sligo. Last year it announced plans to close its Sligo plant by 2021, with the loss of 165 jobs.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist