Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) said today it will build a new large-scale biologics manufacturing facility in Cruiserath, County Dublin, Ireland, at a potential cost of $900 million.

The new plant will produce multiple therapies for the company’s growing biologics portfolio, significantly increase the company’s biologics manufacturing capacity, and play “a central role” in its global manufacturing network, the company said in a statement.

The 30,000-square meter (322,917-square-foot) project will house six 15,000-liter (about 3,963-gallon) bioreactors and a purification area as well as office and lab space.

The plant will be built on the grounds of the company’s existing bulk pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, BMS said. The Cruiserath site is a 45-Acre development on a 100-acre property that is designed as a flexible, multi-purpose high containment (Band 4) highly-automated bulk production pharmaceutical facility.

In planning the expansion, BMS worked with Ireland's Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through IDA Ireland, the republic’s economic development agency. BMS has had a presence in Ireland for 50 years, though the company said in March it would cut 160 Irish jobs—30 at a plant in Swords that will remain a key supplier of bulk pharmaceuticals; and 130 at the existing bulk plant in Cruiserath, slated for shutdown due to reduced demand for products made there.

Some products BMS has manufactured at the Cruiserath bulk plant, according to the company's website, include Avapro (Irbesartan), Reyataz (Atazanavir Sulfate), and Ongylza (Saxagliptin).

BMS said it anticipates the facility’s full cost to be comparable to the approximately $900 million it spent constructing and making operational its biologics manufacturing facility in Devens, MA. A full cost for the Irish plant is expected to be finalized in the second half of 2015. To date, BMS’ board has approved initial funding to support the first phase of the project, but did not furnish a figure.

BMS plans to base “approximately 350 to 400” scientists, engineers, bioprocess operators, quality specialists, and other skilled professionals at the Irish biologics plant, which is projected to create 1,000 construction jobs.

Completion of the facility, including commissioning and validation, is anticipated to take about four years, with the plant expected to begin operation in 2019.

BMS said the new Irish plant reflects the growing presence of biologics within its pipeline – more than half of which consists of biologics.

“Our investment in this new facility reflects the strength of our business and the increasingly important role that biologic medicines will play in Bristol-Myers Squibb’s future,” stated BMS CEO Lamberto Andreotti.

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