Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) will shut down one of its two bulk pharmaceutical manufacturing plants in Ireland, by the end of 2015, idling all its 130 workers, and will eliminate the jobs of another 30 employees at the surviving plant in the country.

BMS cited changes in market demand for the products manufactured at its Cruiserath manufacturing plant in Dublin, and the surviving plant in Swords, in justifying its planned shutdowns and ladecision, disclosed by the company yesterday.

Manufacturing will take place at Cruiserath until the plant shuts down at the end of 2015, BMS said, adding that it remained committed to continuing its production of bulk pharmaceuticals at Swords, North County Dublin.

However, the Swords plant will lose 30 of the more than 320 people employed there now, as BMS plans to shut down a single operating unit there.

“The company is working with IDA Ireland to explore potential future uses of the Cruiserath facility and will endeavor to minimize job losses in Ireland,” Susan Hynes, BMS’ general manager of API operations-Ireland said in a company statement.

Opened in 2004, BMS Cruiserath is a bulk production pharmaceutical facility that over the years has manufactured products such as  Avapro (Irbesartan), Reyataz (Atazanavir Sulfate) and Ongylza (Saxagliptin). The facility occupies 45 acres of a 100-acre site.

“Manufacturing in Cruiserath is highly automated, using DCS control (Delta V), is paperless (bar-coded equipment) and is recipe driven. There are three Centrifuges and five Dryers (Cone Dryer, Pan Dryers and Filter Dryers) with PAT, the latest analytical technology linked up to them,” BMS states on the plant’s web page. 

“The Process Control System is designed to optimise cycle time and reduce variability. The building layout is designed to exploit advantages of gravity flow,” the company adds.

Swords Laboratories is a bulk API manufacturing site that serves as the dedicated launch site for all of BMS’ new small molecule APIs. Six new products were validated in Swords Laboratories between 2005–2012, with more ongoing.  

Among products that have been manufactured at Swords are Eliquis (Apixaban), Taxol (Paclitaxel), Baraclude (Entecavir), Avapro (Irbesartan), Onglyza (Saxagliptin) and Reyataz (atazanavir sulfate).

Swords was one of the first to manufacture pharmaceuticals in Ireland when it opened in 1964. Swords consists of seven separate manufacturing plants, a thermal oxidizer and a waste water treatment plant on the Swords site. Swords Laboratories currently manufactures multiple APIs and Intermediates

SIPTU, a trade union representing more than 100 of the employees now based at Swords, requested an urgent meeting with management following the company’s announcement, Ireland’s RTE reported. SPITU represents 20 of the soon to be idled workers, according to the Irish Examiner newspaper. 

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