GE to invest €150 million to create Irish biopharma jobs and NIBRT training centre

Posted: 21 September 2016 | Niamh Louise Marriott, Digital Content Producer | No comments yet

GE BioPark Cork, subject to contract and planning approvals, will feature Europe’s first KUBio, prefabricated, off-the-shelf bio-manufacturing facilities…

Ireland’s Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, announced that GE is to invest €150 million in a new biopharmaceutical manufacturing campus on Industrial Development Agency (IDA) Ireland’s strategic site at Loughbeg, Ringaskiddy, County Cork. 

GE BioPark Cork, subject to contract and planning approvals, will feature Europe’s first KUBio, prefabricated, off-the-shelf bio-manufacturing facilities, owned and run by GE customers, and will serve as focal point for further investment in next-generation biopharmaceutical manufacturing in Ireland.

Building manufacturing capacity

GE BioPark Cork is expected to be home to more than 500 new jobs when fully operational; 400 with biopharma companies and a further 100 employed directly by GE. The construction phase, subject to planning approvals, is expected to begin by the middle of 2017 and will create up to 800 construction jobs. The project is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through IDA Ireland.

Developing bio-manufacturing skills for 1,500 bio-professionals per year

To further develop biopharma manufacturing skills and expertise in Ireland, GE and the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) also announced their plan to create a NIBRT-GE Single-use Centre of Excellence at NIBRT’s Dublin facility.

NIBRT expects to train up to 1,500 bioprocessing professionals annually on next-generation biologic manufacturing technologies. The same state-of-the-art technologies for biopharma manufacturing will be used in GE BioPark Cork’s manufacturing facilities.

Site organisation

GE BioPark Cork will be a GE-managed campus including four fully-equipped KUBio factories owned by independent biopharma companies manufacturing proprietary medicines, with GE running centralised shared utilities, process development and site services.

Patient demand for innovative medicines is driving rapid global growth of the biopharmaceutical industry, resulting in significant need for more production capacity. GE’s KUBio enables pharmaceutical companies to quickly deploy new biologics manufacturing capacity and bring medicines to market faster. KUBios increase manufacturing flexibility and are between 25% and 50% more cost-effective to build than comparable traditional facilities. Carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced by 75% and water and energy use by approximately 80%. Build time can be shortened to 18 months from the usual 3 years.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor said, “I am delighted that GE is making a significant investment in Cork.  This is a further testament to our talented workforce.” 

“All investment and jobs created has a positive knock on effect on the wider region. Over 28,000 people currently work in biopharma and 6,000 of those work in biologics. This subsector is expected to double in the coming years and will provide both a challenge and an opportunity for the industry and training providers to collaborate on promoting the range of career opportunities available.

“I welcome GE’s commitment to Ireland and wish them every success in the future.”

Kieran Murphy, CEO, GE Healthcare Life Sciences, GE Healthcare said, “Pharma companies world-wide are racing to respond to patient needs with new life-changing biological medicines and GE is investing in technology and service solutions, as well as industry skills and expertise, to enable them to make and get their products to market more quickly. We are delighted to be investing once again in Ireland, where we have ourselves a long history of manufacturing our own medical imaging products.”

Dominic Carolan, CEO NIBRT said, “NIBRT is delighted to partner with GE on the next generation of bioprocessing equipment, which will accelerate the introduction of these new technologies to the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry, helping to reduce manufacturing costs and increase the access to these valuable therapies.”