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US firm Regeneron to create 400 jobs in Limerick as part of Covid-19 drug plans

REGN-COV2 will be made in New York but Limerick will by producing existing medicines.

The Regeneron facility in Limerick.
The Regeneron facility in Limerick.

US PHARMACEUTICAL FIRM Regeneron is to create 400 jobs at its facility in Limerick as it seeks to bulk up production of a Covid-19 drug that’s in development. 

The firm says it has invested over $1 billion to build the facility at the Raheen Business Park since 2014 and already employs about 1,000 people there. 

Recruitment is already underway for the new jobs and Regeneron says they will support the production of existing medicines. 

The company is also maximising manufacturing capacity at its New York facility for REGN-COV2, Regeneron’s potential Covid-19 treatment. 

At present it’s not planned that the new drug will be manufactured in Limerick but the Irish plant will take on production of other drugs moved from New York. 

“As this pandemic hit, we needed to quickly change how we do things and where we make our products,” executive vice president Dan Van Plew said today. 

In order to make space in our New York facilities to accommodate our Covid-19 efforts, we needed to ramp-up capacity here in Limerick. Despite ramping up commercial production sooner than planned, my team hasn’t missed a beat. You can only perform like this if you have good people, and Ireland has lots of good people, so we are excited to be hiring 400 more. 

REGN-COV2

Regeneron scientists designed REGN-COV2 specifically to block the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes Covid-19.

The drug is a combination of two antibodies that block the coronavirus’ “spike protein” which it uses to invade human cells. 

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The medicine is being tested on humans in clinical trials for the treatment of Covid-19, and for the prevention of the new coronavirus in household contacts of infected individuals.

If it proves safe and effective and regulatory approvals are granted, Regeneron will distribute the product in the United States, while Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Roche will do the same in the rest of the world.

The two companies are teaming up to develop, manufacture and distribute the drug. 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar were both present at the jobs announcement in LImerick today, with Martin saying it was a “further vote of confidence in the skills and talent of our workforce” and Varadkar saying it “comes as a welcome boost for Ireland and the Mid-West at a very tough time”.

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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