Regeneron seeks planning permission for latest extension to Limerick plant

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

'Gut feel': Dan Van Plew, executive vice president and general manager of industrial operations and product supply at Regeneron in Limerick

'Gut feel': Dan Van Plew, executive vice president and general manager of industrial operations and product supply at Regeneron in Limerick

BIOPHARMACEUTICAL firm Regeneron is to formally seek planning permission for its latest investment in Limerick, which will bring 300 new jobs.

The company, based in Dell’s old factory at the Raheen Industrial Estate, has announced an €84.9m investment to further expand its industrial operations and product supply here.

The proposals will bring Regeneron’s headcount to 800 in Limerick, while the firm is also planning to employ 250 builders temporarily as part of the extension.

According to an application to be submitted to council planners, the firm is planning a single storey extension measuring 12,707 square metres and 14.4m high.

Other works will see a new permanent car park for 150 cars to the south-west of the existing complex.

Fianna Fail councillor Vivienne Crowley, who chairs the economic committee said Regeneron’s extension represents “a huge indication of how well Limerick is performing in terms of job creation.”

The firm, founded in Tarrytown, New York, exists to develop drugs for people with serious medical complaints.

It has invested €636m since it opened in Limerick back in 2014, with the latest round of specialist jobs in commercial manufacturing, project sciences, quality assurance and various other support functions.

Cllr Crowley added: “This isn’t just about job creation. It’s job creation in industry, where you’re bringing a highly educated workforce, and quite a lot of young people back into Limerick which will obviously improve the economy.”

She also welcomed the building jobs, saying 250 is “a massive number of people”.

“The construction industry has a long way to go in terms of recovery to the same extent other businesses have managed at present. In terms of the loss of the workforce, there is a long way to go towards improving things for the construction sector. But this is a good start,” the northside member said.

Regeneron’s 400,000 square foot, state-of-the-art production facility in Limerick is the largest scale bulk biologics production facility in Ireland, and one of the largest in the world as a whole.

Speaking at the recent jobs announcement at the plant, Dan Van Plew, the executive vice president and general manager of industrial operations and product supply at Regeneron, said: “Gut feel is a large portion of any site selection. When we picked Limerick years ago, we simply felt good about the community, universities and people. A few years and a lot of experience later, I can now confidently say I know Limerick is a place where you can build and thrive as a biotech.

"We are proud of what has happened here and the vast majority of this work has been completed by people who come from Munster.

“These folks built, validated and began production in a way I’d put up against any other team on the planet. We feel at home here and the way we have been welcomed has made our growth and investment rewarding on the most personal levels.”