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US drug firm Aerie in deal for new €23m plant in Ireland


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US drug company Aerie Pharmaceuticals has signed a lease agreement with the IDA for a new factory in Athlone that will establish a manufacturing base in Ireland.

Aerie Pharmaceuticals said that it expects to invest $25m (€23.6m) in the new plant.

It initially revealed its intention last September to invest in Ireland.

The California firm is involved in the discovery, development and commercialisation of therapies for the treatment of glaucoma and other eye diseases.

The new Irish plant is expected to serve international and US markets for the $1.3bn (€1.23bn) company.

Aerie moved its intellectual property to Ireland in early 2015.

The Athlone facility will be its first manufacturing plant.

It will eventually be used to manufacture Aerie's drug candidates, Rhopressa and Roclatan, if they are cleared for use by regulators.

The IDA has provided both employment and capital investment incentives to Aerie.

Project construction and equipment costs are expected to total $25m (€23.6m), of which approximately $16m is expected to be incurred by Aerie this year.

Aerie added that it its Rhopressa drug is approved, commercial production of the treatment at the Athlone plant is expected to be available by 2020. Aerie ceo Vicente Anido said the deal with the IDA represents "another milestone in executing our long-term strategy".

"As we prepare for commercialisation, it is increasingly important that we ensure greater independence regarding our finished product sourcing while also meaningfully reducing our future product costs," he added.

Roclatan has performed well in trials.

The drug is a combination of Rhopressa and Latanoprost, one of the most widely prescribed treatments for glaucoma.

Aerie submitted a marketing application for Rhopressa - a daily eye drop to treat patients with glaucoma or ocular hypertension - to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last September.

The application is expected to be resubmitted to the FDA by the end of the current quarter.

Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials of Roclatan are currently underway.

If those trials are successful, Aerie expects to submit a new drug application to the FDA near the end of 2017.

Aerie is also focused on the development of additional product candidates and technologies in ophthalmology.

The company raised $41m (€38.8m) in equity funding and $20m (€18.9) in debt prior to its initial public offering in 2013, and has since then has raised about $317m (€300m) on the stockmarket.

Irish Independent