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News : Irish Last Updated: Mar 11, 2011 - 3:56 PM


US biotech giant Amgen to acquire Pfizer's Dún Laoghaire plant and save Irish 280 jobs
By Finfacts Team
Mar 11, 2011 - 3:52 PM

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US biotech giant Amgen and Pfizer, the world's biggest pharmaceutical firm, today announced that they have signed an agreement for the sale of Pfizer’s manufacturing facility located at Dún, County Dublin to Amgen. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of this year. The development will save 280 Irish jobs.

The Pfizer facility is a 37,000 square-meter aseptic operations facility with freeze dry product and liquid vial filling operations. The transaction anticipates that the majority of the employees at the site (approximately 240) will transfer their employment to Amgen and Pfizer will consult with transferring colleagues in relation to the implications of the transfer for them. A smaller group (about 40) will remain employed by Pfizer as part of the terms of the agreement.

Amgen abandoned plans in 2009, to create 1,100 jobs in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork.

“As we expand internationally, the Dublin site will help us deliver a growing supply of Amgen medicines for patients worldwide,” said Madhu Balachandran, senior vice president, Amgen Manufacturing. “We are impressed with the technical expertise and commitment to excellence demonstrated by the employees who work at the Dun Laoghaire site and look forward to welcoming them to Amgen’s global manufacturing team.”

Balachandran continued, “We are grateful to the Irish government and IDA Ireland for their support in helping us secure this world-class facility and look forward to a strong, productive relationship in the years ahead.”

Welcoming the announcement, Dr Paul Duffy, vice president Primary Care, Pfizer Global Supply said, “
This is a good day for colleagues and for Ireland Inc. as it proves we remain an attractive location for high calibre investment. We worked determinedly with IDA Ireland to sell the Dublin facility in order that employment could be retained and I wish to thank colleagues for their continued commitment throughout the process. We continue to actively engage in exploring opportunities to divest our Loughbeg and Shanbally plants in Cork and remain focused on delivering successful outcomes.”

Under terms of the agreement, Amgen will manufacture Pfizer’s products at the facility for an interim period and Pfizer will lease a portion of the facility from Amgen for an interim period. Amgen intends to develop the capability to formulate and fill its biological products at the site and expand the manufacturing capabilities there over time.

Commenting on the announcement by Amgen to take over the Pfizer facility in Dun Laoghaire, Barry O’Leary, CEO of IDA Ireland said, “This investment by Amgen, the largest biotechnology company in the world, gives a substantial boost to Ireland’s Life Sciences sector. Today’s announcement represents a significant win for Ireland due to Amgen’s leading position in the industry and the strategic nature of the proposed development for the company.”

“The retention of the 240 jobs by Amgen and the 40 staff who will remain employed by Pfizer, in Dun Laoghaire, is also very welcome news for staff and management here and is testament to the hard work and dedication with which they continued to operate this facility during a difficult and uncertain period. I wish all parties involved every success with this acquisition and to offer the full support of IDA Ireland to Amgen as it develops its operations here in Ireland.”

Amgen has conducted commercial operations in Ireland since 2000 and employs about 25 staff members at its offices in North County Dublin

Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation, Richard Bruton, TD, today welcomed the signing of an agreement which will result in Amgen purchasing Pfizer’s manufacturing facility in Dun Laoghaire.

Welcoming the announcement, Minister Bruton, aid,
"It is the primary target of this new Government to get the Irish economy moving, restore confidence and create jobs.

Today’s announcement, by the world’s largest biotechnology company, shows that leading corporations do in fact retain confidence in Ireland as a location for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The retention of 280 jobs at the facility and the prospect of further job creation, as Amgen grows its Irish operation, is testament to Ireland’s ability to provide a highly educated and flexible workforce and pro-business environment.

On behalf of the new Government for National Recovery, I offer my full support to Amgen as it grows its Irish operations and I am committed to working closely with IDA Ireland in bringing Ireland’s FDI portfolio to its maximum potential."

PharmaChemical Ireland, the IBEC group that represents the pharmaceutical and chemical industry, today welcomed the news that Amgen has agreed to purchase Pfizer’s manufacturing facility in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. The majority of the employees (approximately 240) are expected transfer across, while a smaller number (40) will continue to work for Pfizer.

PharmaChemical Ireland Director Matt Moran said: "The move will secure jobs and is further proof of Ireland's attractiveness as a place to invest and do business. Despite a difficult economic environment, the pharmaceuticals industry has a fantastic track record in this country. We have the people, the capability and the drive to meet the challenges ahead.

"Amgen is one of the leading global pharmaceutical players and their presence here further enhances Ireland's reputation as a global hub for the industry. IDA Ireland is to be congratulated for landing this important investment."


Eight of the top 10 pharmaceuticals companies in the world have major operations in Ireland, benefiting from a favourable tax regime, a highly-skilled workforce, strong compliance record and easy access to European markets. The industry accounts for over half the national exports in value terms - some €50bn in 2010, employs over 24,500 people and contributes €1bn in corporation tax annually.

  • Exports from the pharmaceutical/medical devices sector grew by 38% in the period 2004-2010 but direct employment remained in the low 40,000's;

  • Exports from the pharmaceutical/medical devices sector account for over 60% of merchandise exports (in 2009, merchandise exports were 55% of total exports including services);

  • So about 20 large mainly American-owned firms are responsible for about 33% of total annual exports but the pharmaceutical industry is under pressure with key patent expirations such as the ones on the cholesterol drug Lipitor worth $12bn a year in sales for Pfizer;

  • Since 1950 -- virtually the dawn of the modern era of medicine -- a total of 1,256 new drugs have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But the industry today produces roughly the same number of new medicines that it did 61 years ago;

  • More than $65bn was invested in R&D last year in the US alone but the number of new drugs launched annually has fallen 44% since 1997.

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