Almost 400 Irish staff at a global pharmaceutical company have started work for a new business.
Abbott has split itself in two, setting up the new AbbVie company and launching it on the New York Stock Exchange.
Staff at pharmaceutical plants in Sligo and Cork and a sales centre in Dublin now work for AbbVie, while 3,200 staff at 11 other sites across Ireland will continue to work for Abbott. The new company will concentrate on the development of new medicines and will continue to produce existing ones.
Abbott will continue to operate a wide range of health companies, including branded generic medicines, medical devices and nutritional products.
The sheer size of the two companies was evidenced by yesterday's announcement. The new venture will have estimated revenues of $18bn (€13bn) and staff in 170 countries worldwide. The Abbott operation will have $4bn (€3bn) more in revenues in 2013.
"This is an exciting day for AbbVie and our 400 colleagues in Ireland," said Irish general manager of the new company Ryan Quigley.
"We look forward to working together with patients and healthcare partners to meet the healthcare needs in Ireland.
"AbbVie is a new type of company, a biopharmaceutical company. We are built on a 125-year heritage of research and innovation, with a renewed focus on meeting the needs of patients. AbbVie is committed to finding new treatments that address some of the world's most serious health issues."
AbbVie is focused on developing specialty pharmaceuticals that address complex, unsolved health problems, particularly chronic diseases, that now account for 75pc of all healthcare costs, he said.
Representatives of both companies were keen to point out their commitment to their Irish operations. In February 2012, Abbott announced plans for an €85m extension to the Sligo site that will create up to 175 additional jobs. This expansion plan transfers into AbbVie and is due for completion by 2014. The full complement of jobs will come on line by 2015.