Business Irish

Sunday 17 November 2019

Latest moves mean Ireland has seven of top 10 pharma giants

Sarah McCabe

TWO global pharmaceutical giants are setting up new Irish operations as the country solidifies its position as location-of-choice for drug manufacturers.

Specialist drug maker Alexion is opening a new lab, office and supply chain facility, thought to be located at Grangecastle Business Park in Dublin after the company was spotted touring a 20-acre site at the industrial estate.

Recruitment for the operation has already begun and 50 Irish employees will be signed up by the end of this year.

Irish corporate entities set up by the Connecticut-based company in the past few weeks – Alexion Pharma International Trading and Alexion Pharma Holding – both have an authorised share capital of $1bn (€0.75bn).

IDA Ireland said the company's decision means Ireland has now secured seven of the world's top 10 biopharmaceutical companies.

Alexion has a market capitalisation of about €15bn and expects sales to reach €1.13bn in 2013, all based on one drug, Soliris. This costs as much as €300,000 a year per patient, among the world's most expensive therapies.


The medicine treats two rare blood diseases that affect fewer than 20,000 people in the world.

The company came second in the 'Forbes' list of the "world's most innovative companies" last year, second only to Salesforce.

Pharma giant Roche, which already employs 300 in Ireland, is reportedly interested in buying it to gain control of profitable Soliris at a time when the Switzerland-based company faces setbacks in its drug research and development.

Spanish drug maker Grifols is also expected to lodge a planning application soon for a biopharmaceutical facility on an 11-hectare site at the same Clondalkin business park.

Its deadline for planning permission expired in June, but South Dublin County Council has extended this.

Grifols purchased the Dublin site for an estimated €6m. They are expected to apply for planning permission for a large life-science facility in the next few months.

The Barcelona-based company produces products derived from blood plasma, for patients with rare genetic diseases and infections, as well as medical devices.

Sales topped €2.6bn last year, up almost 50pc on 2011 results.

Irish Independent

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