DUNDALK, Ireland and SHANGHAI—An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, the Prime Minister of Ireland, announced yesterday that WuXi Biologics, a global open-access biologics technology platform company, plans to invest €325 million in a new biologics drug substance manufacturing facility on the Industrial Development Authority’s (IDA) greenfield site in Mullagharlin, Dundalk, Co. Louth.
Speaking at the announcement in Dundalk, Varadkar said, “This is the start of something special. We will see the Factory of the Future, right here in Dundalk. 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.”
This state-of-the-art “facility of the future” will be built upon the novel approach WuXi Biologics has pioneered deploying multiple single-use bioreactors for commercial biomanufacturing and is also designed to be able to run continuous bioprocessing, a next generation manufacturing technology to be first implemented globally in this campus. A total of 48,000 L fed-batch and 6,000 L perfusion bioreactor capacity will be installed, representing the world’s largest facility using single-use bioreactors. The manufacturing project, which will be a 26-hectare campus, is supported by the Irish Government through IDA Ireland. This will be WuXi Biologics’ first site outside of China.
Minister for Business, Enterprise & Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD welcomed the announcement. “I was delighted to join the Taoiseach for the official announcement of WuXi Biologics’ significant investment in Dundalk. This huge €325 million investment is a great vote of confidence in Ireland and reinforces our image as a global centre of excellence in Biologics,” said Humphreys. “This investment will result in the creation of over 400 highly skilled jobs over 5 years as well as approximately 700 construction jobs. This development is a further example of the success of our commitment under the Regional Action Plans for Jobs to provide quality jobs in regional locations.”
“We have been engaging IDA and Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) for several years before finalizing today’s exciting investment in this community. This is our second major partnership in Ireland, following WuXi NextCODE’s work with Genomics Medicine Ireland (GMI),” commented Dr. Ge Li, Chairman of WuXi Biologics. “These ventures showcase how competitive Ireland is for global enterprise and investment, and we are grateful for all the support local agencies and the talented people here have provided for us.”
This announcement expands upon the partnership established among IDA, ISIF and WuXi AppTec Group companies. WuXi Biologics’ sister company, WuXi NextCODE, has partnered closely with GMI and ISIF since inception. Both investments and collaborations share a common goal: to advance cutting-edge technologies and high-value-added jobs based in Ireland and serve customers and markets worldwide.
“We are all excited to initiate our first global site to enable local companies and expedite biologics development in Europe. In addition, this is the start and a critical part of our global biomanufacturing network to ensure that biologics are manufactured at 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,” added Dr. Chris Chen, CEO of WuXi Biologics.
“This investment is a significant win for Ireland and for the BMW (Border, Midland and Western) Region…It also shows that our strategy of market diversification is working,” noted Martin Shanahan, IDA Ireland CEO. “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. The selection of a BMW regional location is a strong endorsement of IDA’s regional strategy and property strategy to acquire and secure pre-approved planning for biopharma strategic sites. IDA is delighted to support this project and I wish the company every success here in Ireland and in this Region and will follow their progress with interest.”