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Regeneron to expand manufacturing outside US

Published on 31/03/14 at 12:14pm
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Regeneron is to open its first overseas production facility in Limerick, Ireland, after addressing the initial objections of a national heritage group. 

The New York-based firm has earmarked €220 million to refurbish a former Dell computer plant on the outskirts of the city, with an expected 300 jobs to be created by 2016. 

The planned investment was temporarily delayed when Irish national trust An Taisce lodged an appeal against the development, citing traffic and parking concerns. 

However, the objection was pulled after representatives of the two organisations met and agreed to work together on a transport solution. 

Regeneron senior vice president Dan Van Plew says his firm is very happy to have reached a compromise on the matter, according to local newspaper the Limerick Leader. 

He adds that he is “delighted with the available talent in Limerick, the progress made thus far on the preliminary portion of the proposed development, and the great national and regional response we have had to our investment plan for the Limerick facility." 

Regeneron is riding high after a number of notable successes in the past year. Eylea (aflibercept), the wet age-related macular degeneration treatment it co-developed with Bayer, brought in sales of more than $1.4 billion dollars in 2013. That figure is expected to peak at around $2 billion per year.

Eylea’s profitability was further enhanced in August when it was granted an extension of its European licence - to treat visual impairment due to macular oedema - mirroring the added approval already earned in the US a year earlier. 

The firm also posted promising Phase III results in October for another drug, alirocumab - a new LDL cholesterol-lowering treatment developed in collaboration with Sanofi. 

Regeneron’s latest announcement will be welcomed by the pharma industry in Ireland after the loss of 160 jobs was announced by Bristol-Myers Squibb across two of its sites in Dublin. 

Despite the latter setback, the country remains competitive. As FiercePharma reports, a number of pharma firms attracted by Ireland’s favourable corporation tax rate have acquired companies there over the past 12 months - including Actavis, Horizon and Perrigo.

Hugh McCafferty

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