US biopharma corporation Eli Lilly is already considering an expansion of its Limerick facility, despite the fact that it has yet to submit a planning application for the €400million building on the Raheen Business Park.
If planning is approved by Limerick City and County Council, up to 500 workers will be involved in the construction phase which is expected to continue until 2025. The Limerick facility will employ 300 highly skilled pharma workers when finished.
Eli Lilly senior vice president Darin Moody said that the planning application is due to be submitted in the coming weeks and intimated that when the Limerick base is completed, it could be expanded.
In an interview with the Irish Examiner, Mr Moody said: “The site will bring with it the potential for future expansions, but no decisions have been made beyond this initial investment.”
Eli Lilly has been operating in Ireland since 1978 and currently has more than 2,500 employees at a manufacturing campus at Kinsale, a global business services centre at Little Island in County Cork, and a commercial team dispersed across the country.
Mr Moody said the company decision to choose Limerick for its latest development was the culmination of a global evaluation of potential manufacturing sites which included dozens of factors covering the spectrum of workforce availability.
He said this included the availability of potential employees with science and engineering and other technical backgrounds and the strength in access to the local and national university system.
He also said these included the quality of infrastructure and “a whole range of factors around the economic climate”.
“We execute a planning process for making capacity decisions,” he said.
“We have a global footprint for manufacturing and we constantly evaluate the need for adding manufacturing capacity and then where we need to add that capacity. And so, our process takes all those things into account.”
“The need for the Limerick site is really driven by the anticipated growth that we have for our existing product portfolio and also the strength of our new product pipeline.
“We’re very optimistic about both and we are investing in additional manufacturing capacity in anticipation of additional demand.
“We determined it was appropriate to invest in a new manufacturing site, again, driven by our expected growth of existing products, but also a very exciting, exciting line-up of new products that will potentially be launching in the next several years.