100m MSD R&D; facility opened in Tipperary

A €100m pharmaceutical R&D; centre at MSD in Ballydine, Co Tipperary was officially opened by Taoiseach Enda Kenny this morning.

Construction on the facility on the existing Ballydine site began in September 2007 and 70 new, high-calibre roles have been created since then. MSD, which employs 2,300 people at eight operations throughout Ireland, said another 50 jobs could be created as further innovative medicines are developed at the centre.

Six new medicines are currently in development at MSD Ballydine, including new candidate medicines for the combined treatment of high cholesterol and type II diabetes, and for the treatment of hepatitis C.

An additional €6 million investment is already in the planning phase to extend the new facility and add extra capacity.

“This strategically important development for MSD which brings R&D and high-value jobs to our economy is a significant endorsement of Ireland’s wealth of talent and expertise,” said the Taoiseach today.

“The decision by this global healthcare leader to invest in Ireland in order to provide the capability to bring new innovative medicines to market faster is an endorsement of my government’s strategy to focus on job creation and the knowledge economy,” he said.

Willie Deese, executive vice president and president, Merck manufacturing division, said the decision to locate a worldwide pharmaceutical R&D centre in Ballydine was due to a number of factors, “chief among which was the credibility, track record and expertise of the Ballydine team, the technology and infrastructure at the site and the support we have received from the Irish Government and IDA Ireland”.

“In the year that we celebrate 35 years of successful operations at Ballydine, the site has now evolved to be firmly rooted in R&D commercialisation which will enable us to bring new and innovative medicines to the patients who need them faster,” said general manager, David O’Connell.

“From a site perspective, this underpins Ballydine’s strategic importance within the MSD global network and significantly increases and diversifies the level of high profile research and development conducted at the site which, in turn, is the lifeblood for growth of the company and the life sciences industry as a whole.”

The MSD Ballydine site also supplies material in support of MSD’s clinical research programme worldwide. MSD, which has a worldwide annual R&D budget of US$8.6bn, has five ‘Top Priority’ candidate medicine research programmes worldwide, three of which are now being developed at the Ballydine facility.