Pharmaceutical company MSD has been granted planning permission for the construction of a new facility in Carlow.

The 13,000 square metre facility, which was first announced last October, will be constructed on a site adjacent to the company's existing plant outside Carlow town.

The facility will focus on the production of vaccines and biologics.

Manufacturing is scheduled to commence at the new plant in 2022 and the company says it will employ an additional 170 staff and 100 contractor staff.

The build phase will also see approximately 700 tradespeople employed on site.

MSD currently employs more than 400 people in Carlow at the existing site, which opened in 2008.

Overall the firm employs approximately 2,300 employees across five sites in Carlow, Cork, Dublin and Tipperary.

Sanat Chattopadhyay, President, MSD Global Manufacturing Division, said: "The decision to further invest in Carlow is a real testament to the talent of the current Carlow team and MSD Ireland's wider employee base.

This new investment reinforces MSD’s commitment to Ireland, further strengthening our 50-year strong legacy here."

The IDA chief executive, Martin Shanahan, said the news marks "an important strategic move" for the company and "a deep commitment" to the south-east region.