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Wednesday, 22nd May 2019

Dundalk to get €325m ‘factory of the future’

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Erecting structural steel on the Wuxi Ireland DK2 Manufacturing building in Dundalk with the Cooleys in the background.  WuXi Biologics has begun the construction on the world’s largest single-use biologics manufacturing facility, covering an area of 48,000 m² on a 52-acre site outside Dundalk.

Construction has begun on what has been described as the ‘factory of the future’ and is set to become the largest single-use biologics manufacturing facility in the world.

The 48,000 square metre, €325 million facility is being built for Chinese company WuXi Biologics (it’s pronounced ‘Wooshie’) on a 52-acre campus site in Dundalk.

“The project is truly moving at ‘WuXi speed’ and we are delighted with progress to date”, said WuXi Biologics Ireland Site Head and VP Manufacturing Brendan McGrath.

“Cladding work will commence at the end of July and we are on target to have all of the buildings weather tight by January. This will enable us to move ahead with the installation of the processing plant and equipment to bring us into full commercial production on schedule by 2022.”

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The rapidly advancing schedule will see the number of construction workers on site increase from 120 at present to 500 by year end. Peak construction employment for the project will reach 2,000.

Mr McGrath paid tribute to the project team and also said that the company had also enjoyed tremendous support from IDA Ireland and Louth County Council as well as from the local community.

Biologics drugs represent a new frontier in medicine and the Dundalk campus is to be WuXi Biologics first manufacturing facility outside China

“This advanced technology will establish a ‘factory of the future’ in Dundalk and reinforce Ireland’s leading position globally in biologics manufacturing. “The new facility is designed to employ high performance single-use biologics manufacturing technology and will have the capability to run multiple batches simultaneously, delivering biologics medicines at a significantly lower cost than is possible using traditional systems”, McGrath explained.

The new facility also represents a tremendous opportunity for Irish graduates across a range of disciplines to work in a world class environment. “We are inviting talented people to join us on the exciting journey which will see us develop a large-scale integrated facility to produce of some of the world’s most innovative biologics medicines,” said McGrath.

“We hope experienced local and international talent will look to the WuXi Biologics operations in Dundalk, or indeed in China, for exciting career opportunities and challenges at the leading edge of biopharma innovation and production. Recruitment for senior roles at the Dundalk facility has already commenced and mainstream recruitment is planned to begin in the second half of this year.”

Pictured in April 2018 at the announcement by IDA and WuXi Biologics of the new facility which is now under construction in Dundalk are (from left): Enrique Dilone Amicus Therapeutics, Dr. Chris Chen CEO of WuXi Biologics, Heather Humphreys TD, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD, Dr. Ge Li Chairman of WuXi Biologics and Martin Shanahan of the IDA.

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