Drug giant MSD's €40m upgrade 'a vote of confidence'
Global US drug giant MSD is to invest €40m in its manufacturing facility in Co Tipperary this year, as it installs new technology used to improve a number of products.
The site in Ballydine, which employs 600 people, develops and supplies the active ingredients for a range of medicines.
The investment will bring the total MSD has spent over a three-year period upgrading the Tipperary facility to €75m.
New technology being installed under the €40m investment includes a so-called spray drying facility, which is used in the production of a number of new products to increase their solubility and improve how they are absorbed by patients.
The MSD plant has been operating for 41 years and exports to 30 countries, including destinations in Europe as well as the United States and Japan.
Ger Carmody, the site lead at the MSD plant in Ballydine, said the investment reflects the growing importance of MSD Ireland's operations in the group's global network.
He said the workforce at the plant was "leading the way" in the development of new medicines including MSD's treatment for Hepatitis C, which is being manufactured at the factory.
Ger Brennan, managing director of MSD Human Health, said the investment represents a "significant vote of confidence" for MSD's operations in Ireland and Ireland's entire pharma sector.
MSD's new Hepatitis C drug, Zepatier, was approved last year for the European Union market. Chronic HCV infection is caused as a result of a blood-borne virus and affects about 185 million people worldwide, 15 million of them in Europe.
It had been expected that Zepatier could have generated annual sales of about $2.2bn (€2bn) by the end of this year, but that target looks unlikely to be achieved.
Last year, MSD appointed former Progressive Democrats TD and Minister of State Liz O'Donnell as its director of policy, government affairs and communications.
The company employs more than 1,800 people in Ireland across its facilities here, which include manufacturing, commercial, global finance services, and marketing.