US-based Gilead Sciences has ditched its plans to build a new €60m plant in Dublin, Ireland, instead acquiring Nycomed's Irish manufacturing facility in Cork for almost €34m.
The change of plans comes just months after the Californian biopharmaceutical company announced it was to expand its manufacturing capacity by investing €60m in a 20-acre site with 200,000sq. ft of buildings in Grange Castle Business Park, west Dublin.
The move would have seen all activities at Gilead's other site, at the Sandyford Industrial Estate south of Dublin, being transferred to the new facility, which would have contained a fill and finish facility and space for future expansion to include a tabletting facility.
Up to 80 jobs were expected to have been created.
But now Irish media have reported Gilead has purchased Switzerland-based Nycomed's manufacturing and tabletting facility in Cork in the south of Ireland for €33.9m in a move which abandon's the company's previous expansion plans and could lead to possible job cuts.
The Sandyford facility currently employs 80 people, while the Cork facility employs 55.
Gilead was unavailable for comment at the time of in-PharmaTechnologist.com publishing, but a company spokeswoman was reported in the Irish Times saying the acquisition was "accelerating the timeline" within which the company could start increasing its manufacturing capacity.
She declined to comment to the Irish Times about the potential for job losses.
Gilead senior vice president Anthony Caracciolo was reported in the Irish Times: "Expanding our current Ireland operations to this new Cork plant will give Gilead manufacturing flexibility and will broaden the scope of our future manufacturing capacity."
Speaking to in-PharmaTechnologist.com, a Nycomed spokesman said the acquisition came about as a result of Nycomed reviewing its portfolio at the same time as being approached by Gilead.
"It was appropriate for both companies," he said.
It is understood, according to the Irish Examiner.com, that Gilead plans to transfer its Sandyford operations to the Cork facility and use the site for solid dose manufacturing of existing and future products and packaging of EU products.
Distribution and customer service activities would remain operating out of Dublin.
Under the terms of the contract, Gilead would manufacture Nycomed's pantoprazole - a proton pump inhibitor used to slow or prevent the production of gastric acid and marketed under the brand names Pantozol, Protonix, Pantoloc, and Zurcale. The product would continue to be sold under Nycomed's name.
Other conditions under the terms of the contract were undisclosed.
The transaction, which is still subject to certain closing conditions, is expected to be completed late in the third quarter.
Gilead's Irish operations are used for the manufacture, packaging and distribution of the company's products and the supply of anti-HIV medications to developing countries.
Nycomed purchased the Cork facility last year during its €4.5bn acquisition of German chemical and pharmaceutical company Altana Pharma.
While Nycomed no longer has any manufacturing facilities in Ireland, it still has a strong sales and administrative presence in the country.