The US-headquartered Alexion Pharmaceuticals is to build a new biologics manufacturing facility in Athlone, alongside its existing site.

Biologic treatments are developed by isolating naturally occurring sugars, proteins or other genetic material as opposed to chemically synthesised drugs.

The €100m investment is expected to result in an additional 50 jobs being created at Alexion, doubling the headcount in Athlone.

Commenting on the announcement, Alexion’s Executive Vice President of Global Operations Julie O’Neill said: “Ireland is a key location for Alexion’s global operations and we are committed to further developing our manufacturing facilities in the country to support increasing production needs of our highly innovative and life-transforming therapies.”

Alexion first came to Athlone in 2014 and the current site there houses a vial fill-finish facility.

Alexion is also currently constructing a large-scale bulk biologics manufacturing facility at its Dublin site in College Park.

Between its facilities in Athlone and College Park, Alexion currently employs over 250 people in Ireland, and expects to continue to grow to almost 500 employees by the end of 2019.

Alexion has announced investments totalling €600 million in Ireland since 2014.