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Abbott's extends in Sligo ready for its new API line

By Natalie Morrison+

21-Feb-2012

Abbott Laboratories will pump €85m ($113m) into the expansion of its API production plant in Sligo, Ireland, in preparation of the launch of its pipeline products.

Plans for the extension include the upgrade of a 1,000sq m warehouse space, as well as an additional 1,400sq m dedicated to furthering production capabilities. Abbott will also hire 175 new skilled workers.

Though the firm declined to reveal exactly what will be made at the facility, it told in-PharmaTechnologist the expansion means it can produce APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients) for drugs used to treat high blood pressure, viral infections and kidney disease.

Carmel Mulroy, head of public affairs for Abbott in Ireland, added: “We now have somewhere for our new pipeline [products] to be manufactured.”

The Sligo plant currently makes drugs for cancer, as well as for thyroid complaints and blood pressure, including Xinlay (atrasentan) the prostate cancer treatment and the hyperparathyroidism treatment Zemplar (paricalcitol).

Mulroy told us the plant's track record of regulatory compliance made it an obvious choice for expansion.

“I think a key factor in the decision to expand is the site’s history in meeting manufacturing standards, and the fact it is brilliant with compliance. It’s already FDA and EMA approved so it will help us to bring our APIs to the global market quickly and efficiently.”

The work is expected to be completed by 2014. Abbott would not specify how far along in the development spectrum its up-and-coming products are.

However Mulroy did tell us the products are, for the most part, in clinical trial phases, and that: “They are now at a stage where we need to ramp up our manufacturing capabilities at Sligo.”

It’s the way to Sligo

Abbott has also received an unspecified investment grant from the IDA (Industrial Development Agency) in Ireland for the expansion.

The agency said the move is the latest in a string of pharmaceutical investments in the area, which currently plays home to a “cluster” of life sciences organisations.

An IDA spokeswoman told in-PharmaTechologist: “I suppose one reason for the amount of firms investing in Sligo is the amount of skilled labour available. The Irish education takes a big part on this.

“The amount of life sciences companies there also attract the kind of people who work in the industry.”

The spokesperson added that the IDA works closely with academic institutions to form relationships with industry.

When asked if there will be more similar investment news in the North West of Ireland, the spokesperson said: “It’s not something we can discuss, but our pipeline in pharma is quite strong at the moment and we do expect future investment in Sligo."

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