Thermo Fisher Scientific has agreed to buy a manufacturing site in Cork from GlaxoSmithKline for €90m in a deal which will see the company's 400 employees transfer to its new owners.

GSK confirmed today that they have signed a definitive agreement with the multi-national company which will see the ownership of the Cork manufacturing site, all facilities, business operations and employees transfer to Thermo Fisher.

The deal is still subject to regulatory clearances.

GSK's Cork site director Mike O'Sullivan said the company's priority now is to work with Thermo Fisher and the employees to ensure a smooth transition which it is hoped will be complete by the end of this year.

"Due to strategic changes in the GSK portfolio and emerging pipeline, the Cork site had been significantly under-utilised and it became clear that the site was no long a competitive fit within GSK's manufacturing network," he said. 

"We believe this acquisition offers a more sustainable future for the Cork site," he added. 

GSK employs 1,700 people at four locations in Ireland including Cork, Dungarvan, Sligo and Dublin. 

The Cork manufacturing plan produces the active ingredients for a range of medicines use to treat childhood cancer, depression, diabetes, HIV and Parkinson's disease. 

Thermo Fisher provides development and manufacturing operations for the pharmaceutical industry, and offers services ranging from drug development to clinical trials to commercial manufacturing for pharma and bio tech companies of all sizes.

Meanwhile, SIPTU has described the proposed sale as "unexpected". The union is seeking an urgent meeting with management at GSK.