Pharmaceutical company Merck has announced plans to invest €440 million in its Co Cork operations, which it says will lead to the creation of 370 new jobs.
The German company is expanding its membrane and filtration manufacturing capabilities in Ireland.
The company will invest approximately €440 million to increase membrane manufacturing capacity in Carrigtwohill and to build a new manufacturing facility at Blarney Business Park.
The investment, which is the largest in a single site ever for the Life Science business, will create more than 370 permanent jobs by the end of 2027.
Speaking at the site’s official announcement, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: "This investment speaks volumes about our capacity to provide the right conditions for multinational organisations to grow their operations. Ireland’s development of a strong life sciences ecosystem has been one of our greatest economic successes. I am delighted that Merck has chosen Cork for its latest investment. I wish the team continued success, as they work towards improving lives around the world.”
Matthias Heinzel, a member of the executive board of Merck, said: “Ireland is central to our strategy to drive long-term growth and expand our global leadership position in life science.
"The investment in Cork is the biggest site investment in the history of our Life Science business and will accelerate the delivery of the critical products, technologies and services our customers need to fight the world’s toughest health challenges, including Covid-19."
With the expansion in Carrigtwohill, costing more than €290 million, Merck is adding a manufacturing facility for the immersion casting of membranes.
These membranes support novel and gene therapies, as well as applications like virus sterilisation, plasma separation and finger prick rapid testing.
The membranes also serve the Process Solutions business, which is one of the ‘Big 3’ growth drivers for Merck. Process Solutions markets products and services for the entire pharmaceutical manufacturing value chain.
Merck aims to increase its group sales to approximately €25 billion by 2025. To achieve this growth target, the company increased its total investments between 2021 and 2025 significantly compared with the period from 2016 to 2020.
The announcement follows a €36 million investment at the same site in 2021 for a second lateral flow membrane manufacturing product line. Now formally open, this facility produces lateral flow membranes, most commonly used in rapid diagnostic testing for rare diseases such as dengue fever, malaria and Ebola. They are also a key component in rapid antigen tests, which are used for the detection of Covid-19.