Company hopes to build plant alongside existing one, creating 300 construction jobs over 18 months
Pharmaceutical giant MSD, which is part of the US group Merck, is planning to build a new €140m manufacturing facility linked to an existing plant in Ballydine, Co Tipperary.
According to planning documents submitted to Tipperary County Council, seen by the Sunday Independent, MSD’s proposed project could employ up to 300 construction workers over an estimated 18-month build programme.
MSD, which employs around 2,700 people here, said in the planning application that the proposed facility is required to address a shortage within its worldwide manufacturing capabilities to produce “small volume, highly effective drugs”.
“In order to resolve this manufacturing capability deficiency, MSD Ireland has initiated a project to build a small-scale, single-train facility at Ballydine,” MSD said in the document.
“This new pharmaceutical pilot manufacturing facility is intended to assist MSD Ireland (Ballydine), a branch of MSD International Gmbh, to meet increasing product demands and to support their pipeline and ultimately help more patients.”
The application is part of MSD Ireland’s requirement for early development small-scale manufacturing facilities for pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines.
The proposed facility is referred to as a “pilot plant”, which is for the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).
MSD added the pharmaceutical products manufactured from the facility would be those usually used for clinical trials or early medicine release. An example of these types of medicines are those used for chemotherapy products.
According to the plans, the new pharmaceutical pilot manufacturing facility would be approximately 3,266sqm in size and around 20.75m high. The new facility will be linked to one of its existing manufacturing buildings.
Brian Killen, plant manager of MSD Ballydine, said the site plays an active role in supporting patients globally.
"The additional expansion is a further endorsement of the highly-skilled team we have working here in Ballydine and the important work that they do,” he said.
MSD’s facility at Ballydine is a 33-hectare bulk pharmaceutical manufacturing facility located approximately 12km east of the town of Clonmel.
Its research and commercialisation facility at the site is responsible for developing 20 of MSD’s pipeline products.
MSD has had a presence in the country for over 50 years and has invested approximately €2.2bn in its Irish operations.
Ballydine is one of five MSD sites in Ireland, with others based in Carlow, Cork, Meath and Dublin. Together they manufacture around half of MSD’s top-20 products, which are used in 60 countries worldwide. The new facility could provide a small number of highly specialised permanent jobs, in addition to the 500 skilled employees currently on site.
Last year, MSD announced it would be investing in a separate extension of its Ballydine facility. It also agreed to purchase pharmaceutical company Takeda’s biologics plant in Dunboyne, Co Meath, with the hope of retaining the site’s 200 employees.