A New York-based biopharmaceutical company is to apply for planning permission to establish a production plant in Limerick, which if approved would lead to the creation of 300 high-skilled jobs within three years.

The facility planned by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals would be built at a site previously owned by computer maker Dell at the Raheen Business Park.

Regeneron is one of the largest and fastest growing biopharmaceutical companies in the United States. It develops medicines for a range of illnesses, including eye diseases and colorectal cancer.

The IDA has been working to attract it to invest in Ireland for four years.

The company is to seek planning permission for a $300m (€218m) investment at the city site, which has been vacant since 2009.

The project, if approved, would see the conversion of existing buildings into a European manufacturing facility for the company and the construction of a quality control laboratory.

Around 600 temporary construction jobs would be created during the two-year construction phase.

A further 300 permanent positions would be created for scientists, engineers and technicians by the end of 2016.

The company says factors attracting it to Ireland include the educated workforce and the strong biopharma sector.

The announcement has been welcomed by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton, whose department is supporting the investment through the IDA.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said the news is the "biggest announcement of foreign direct investment [in Limerick] in a generation".

He said it is "great news for the city and the Limerick region".

Mr Noonan said he would visit New York in January and hold talks with executives at the company about their plans.

The minister was speaking in Brussels, where he is participating in a meeting of EU finance ministers.