GE Healthcare will create a €150 million ($167 million) biopharmaceutical manufacturing campus in Cork, Ireland, and partner with the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) to establish an advanced manufacturing training center, the company said today.

GE joined Ireland’s Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, in announcing the campus, which will be developed at an Industrial Development Agency (IDA) Ireland strategic site at Loughbeg, Ringaskiddy, County Cork.

The campus—which is subject to contract and planning approvals—will feature Europe’s first KUBio™ prefabricated, off-the-shelf biomanufacturing facilities, to be owned and run by GE customers. KUBio is designed to enable pharmaceutical companies to deploy new biologics manufacturing capacity quickly and bring medicines to market faster, in part by shortening build time to 18 months from the usual 3 years.

GE BioPark Cork will be a GE-managed campus including four fully equipped KUBio factories owned by independent biopharma companies manufacturing proprietary medicines, with GE running centralized shared utilities and site services.

The independent companies will account for 400 of the 500 new jobs expected to be based at GE BioPark Cork once the campus is fully operational. The other 100 will be directly employed by GE.

No companies have yet agreed to buy KUBio, Kieran Murphy, CEO of GE Healthcare Life Sciences, told Ireland's national public service broadcaster RTÉ, adding: “I don't think it will take us very long to snag the first customer.”

Construction is expected to begin by mid-2017 and create up to 800 construction jobs.

GE said the site will serve as focal point for further investment in next-generation biopharmaceutical manufacturing in Ireland.

In a related announcement, GE also said today it will join with NIBRT to launch a Single-Use Centre of Excellence at NIBRT’s Dublin facility. NIBRT expects to train up to 1500 bioprocessing professionals per year on next-generation biologic manufacturing technologies. The technologies will be used at GE BioPark Cork, the company said.

In Ireland, more than 28,000 people currently work in biopharma and 6000 of those work in biologics, Minister Mitchell O’Connor said in a statement: “This subsector is expected to double in the coming years and will provide both a challenge and an opportunity for the industry and training providers to collaborate on promoting the range of career opportunities available.”

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