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WuXi Biologics’ story in Ireland shows how an initial facility can often be the catalyst for further investment in the country. In 2018, the leading end-to-end biologics provider unveiled a €325m investment in a manufacturing facility in Dundalk.
This was the company’s first manufacturing site outside mainland China and was set to become the largest contract manufacturing single-use biologics production facility in the world. A year after that announcement, WuXi Vaccines, a subsidiary company, revealed plans for a $240 million vaccine production facility on the same campus, creating 200 additional new jobs over five years.
WuXi has pioneered the commercial biomanufacturing of biologics-based medicines, using cells rather than
chemicals to develop innovative diagnostics and therapies which are changing how diseases are prevented and treated, helping millions of people worldwide.
The 48,000 sq m site in Dundalk, just 80km north of the capital city, will have next-generation manufacturing technology with single-use bioreactors to manufacture biologics drug substances. When it enters full production in 2022, it will have 400 people on site.
Just 10 months after starting construction at the site, the Group completed the weather-tight seal of its Irish facility, a rate which the company calls “WuXi Bio Speed”. WuXi did not choose the location by chance: Ireland is home to 13 of the world’s top 20 pharmaceutical companies, many of which are customers.
Another key factor in securing the original investment was the existence of an IDA-owned site on the outskirts of Dundalk with planning permission for a biotechnology campus already secured. This saved 12 months in the planning process.
In addition, the facility is geographically well placed, as the North American market is just five hours behind, while Europe is one hour ahead, and mainland China is seven hours ahead. WuXi Biologics’ Irish site will manufacture around the clock and is designed to be able to change product lines rapidly in response to customer needs.
Speaking at the announcement of the company’s original investment, WuXi Biologics CEO Dr. Chris Chen said the first global site would enable local companies and expedite biologics development in Europe.
“This is the start and a critical part of our global biomanufacturing network to ensure that biologics are manufactured to the highest quality and with a robust supply chain to benefit patients worldwide. We are committed to Ireland and will work with all local partners to build this state-of-art next generation biomanufacturing facility as a showcase to the global biotech community.”
We are committed to Ireland and will work with all local partners to build this state-of-art next generation biomanufacturing facility as a showcase to the global biotech community
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