Bristol-Myers Squibb has agreed a deal to sell its manufacturing plant in Swords in north Co Dublin to South Korean company SK Biotek.

The Swords plant has a workforce of 350.

SK Biotek is the first Korean company to invest in pharmaceutical manufacturing in Ireland and it said it anticipates further investment by adding research and development. marketing and additional manufacturing capabilities.

The Swords facility currently manufactures active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for a number of medicines including Bristol-Myers Squibb's and Pfizer's Eliquis.

The two companies have an established relationship in pharmaceutical manufacturing and supply and the South Korean firm has been a supplier to Bristol-Myers Squibb for the past decade.

SK Biotek said it had chosen to invest in Ireland because of the welcoming business environment and the exceptionally talented workforce.

The company also said it looked forward to growing its presence in Swords in the coming years.  
 
Lou Schmukler, president of global product development & supply at Bristol-Myers Squibb, said he believes the deal will continue the vital role the Swords facility plays for its employees, the community and patients. 

"Today's agreement is an important step in the ongoing evolution of our manufacturing network to support the company's innovative portfolio. Our continued investment in Ireland is critical for our ability to deliver transformational medicines to patients, both through the increased biologics capabilities we are building in Cruiserath and our ongoing commercial and business presence in Dublin," he added.
 

"Today's agreement is an important step in the ongoing evolution of our manufacturing network to support the company's innovative portfolio. Our continued investment in Ireland is critical for our ability to deliver transformational medicines to patients, both through the increased biologics capabilities we are building in Cruiserath and our ongoing commercial and business presence in Dublin," he added.

"Great credit is acknowledged to both companies for having achieved an acquisition agreement which enables continuity of active pharmaceutical ingredients production and protects jobs on a site which has been involved in pharmaceuticals production for over 50-years," commented IDA Ireland chief executive Martin Shanahan. 

Noting that Ireland is home to nine of the ten top global pharmaceutical companies, Mr Shanahan said the country prides itself in delivering manufacturing excellence in the pharma industry.

As well as the Swords site, Bristol Mayers Squibb's Irish operations include a global biologics manufacturing and drug product testing laboratory, in Cruiserath, Dublin 15 and two external manufacturing plants based in Blanchardstown, Dublin 15 and Shannon in Co Clare.