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Pharmaceutical BioPark to create 500 full-time jobs and 800 construction jobs in Cork

The site will feature Europe’s first eco-friendly prefab ‘KUBio’ facility, which allow Co2 emissions to be reduced by 75%, and water and energy use by around 80%.

Image: Shutterstock

A PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY has announced a €150 million investment in a new BioPark campus in Cork Harbour, creating 500 full-time jobs, plus 800 construction jobs.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor today announced the investment, which will feature four factories at the IDA’s site in Loughbeg, Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork.  

GE BioPark Cork, subject to contract and planning approvals, will feature Europe’s first KUBio – prefabricated, off-the-shelf bio-manufacturing facilities, owned and run by GE’s biopharma customers.

The BioPark is expected to be home to more than 500 new jobs when fully operational – 400 with biopharma companies and a further 100 employed directly by GE. The construction phase, subject to planning approvals, is expected to begin by mid- 2017 and create up to 800 construction jobs.

GE said that patient demand for innovative medicines is driving rapid global growth of the biopharmaceutical industry, resulting in significant need for more production capacity. 

GE Healthcare is a multinational employing 46,000 people worldwide, 600 of them in Cork.

They already have a global manufacturing site at Carrigtwohill in East Cork, which saw a €40 million investment in the plant – but in August they told local media in Cork they had to withdraw several dozen job offers, following an industrial relations dispute at the plant.

shutterstock_187059119 Cobh Cathedral, looking out over Cork Harbour. Source: Shutterstock

Emissions

The KUBios planned by GE are between 25-50% more cost-effective to build than traditional facilities.

They said the Co2 emissions can be reduced by up to 75%, while water and energy use can be reduced by around 80%. Build time can be shortened to 18 months from the usual three years.

“The biopharma industry makes a huge contribution to the Irish economy in terms of jobs and manufacturing exports, and is one of the fastest growing sectors,” said Minister for Jobs Mitchell O’Connor.

This is a further testament to our talented workforce.  All investment and jobs created has a positive knock on effect on the wider region.Over 28,000 people currently work in biopharma and 6,000 of those work in biologics.

“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.”

Kieran Murphy, the chief executive of life sciences at GE Healthcare said that pharma companies worldwide are “racing to respond” to patient needs with new life-changing biological medicines.

We are delighted to be investing once again in Ireland, where we have ourselves a long history of manufacturing our own medical imaging products.

Seamus McGrath, the mayor of County Cork, and Tim Lucey, chief executive of Cork County Council, welcomed the announcement.

“The choice of Ireland, and especially Ringaskiddy, for this important investment by GE is a significant win for industry in the Cork Region and an endorsement of Cork as the leading location for such investment,” they said, in a joint statement.

The creation of more than 500 new jobs in the BioPark will be a huge boost in the region, they added.

IDA Martin Shanahan IDA's Martin Shanahan with Taoiseach Enda Kenny a year ago. Source: Rollingnews.ie

1,500 professionals

IDA chief executive Martin Shanahan, said the location of the BioPark in Ireland was a “significant win”. He said:

Ireland has won more than €10 billion in the past 10 years in biotech investment.

In a separate development, GE and the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) have a plan to create a centre of excellence at NIBRT’s Dublin facility, to train 1,500 bioprocessing professionals annually.

Dominic Carolan, chief executive of the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training, based in Dublin, said the development “will accelerate the introduction of these new technologies to the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry,” increasing access to therapies.

Read: Vast majority of IDA jobs in Dublin and Cork as rural counties fall behind

Read: Live Register: The number of people signing on has fallen below 300,000

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