HIV and hepatitis C drug specialist Gilead Sciences have secured planning permission for expansion at its Carrigtwohill manufacturing base.
The €45 million investment will deliver significant additional warehousing and storage capacity at a site that produces 30 per cent of the US drugmaker’s global supply of oral drugs for 100 markets.
Gilead said the development would ensure the Cork site “continues to play a central master distributor role in the company’s supply chain”.
“This investment reinforces Gilead’s commitment to Ireland and will significantly expand storage capacity in Carrigtwohill,” said David Cadogan, vice-president of manufacturing operations at Gilead. “This is an exciting time for Gilead globally, and this development will facilitate additional future investment in our manufacturing and packaging capabilities in Ireland as we look to support an expanded Gilead product portfolio in the years ahead.”
Gilead employs more than 500 people in Ireland, making it the Californian company’s largest operation in the EU. The Irish business dates back to 1999 when Gilead acquired a company called Nexstar that had a manufacturing base in Carrigtwohill.
The Co Cork plant now manufactures a quarter of Gilead’s world supply of solid oral medications, for conditions such as hepatitis C and HIV. It also came to prominence during the Covid-19 pandemic which its remdesivir was a prominent antiviral therapy for those suffering from the virus.
The company recently established a paediatric centre of excellence in Dublin and also has a financial shared services centre at Little Island in Cork and a distribution business in Dublin.
The latest decision by Gilead is a welcome vote of confidence in Ireland as a base for clinical trials. It is an area where, despite a strong position in pharma investment, the State has generally been seen as an underperformer.
The 5,176 sq m (55,714 sq ft) warehouse building will be net zero emission and feature 764 solar panels that will supply 10 per cent of the site’s energy needs. It will be able to house up to 5,800 pallets, providing storage for raw materials and finished goods.
The company expects building to start in April and be complete in November of next year.