The National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) has started construction work on a €21m expansion of its existing facility in Dublin.

The NIBRT said the expansion will increase its capacity and capability to conduct manufacturing-focused research and training in advanced therapeutics.

The new facility will accommodate around 25 new researchers and training staff.

It will serve new and existing NIBRT clients by providing research solutions to manufacturing challenges and staff training in the manufacturing of these highly innovative and complex medicines.

The construction of the extended facility is expected to be complete and the facility operational in the second quarter of 2023.

The €21m project is funded by IDA Ireland and incorporates 1,800 square metres of new space, including five research laboratories and training suites.

NIBRT has pulled together a team of experts to develop the new facility, with PM Group designing the extension, Sisk delivering the construction works and BPE Biopharma Engineering managing the overall project.

NIBRT CEO Darrin Morrissey said the role of NIBRT is to help the growth and development of the biopharma manufacturing sector in Ireland by providing cutting edge training and research solutions.

"NIBRT intends to further enhance our current capability by becoming a leader in the pioneering and fast-evolving area of advanced therapies and vaccines," he said.

"With this expansion, we expect to deliver training for many more potential and newly-hired biopharma staff, as well as considerable growth in our research activities. This has the potential to rapidly enhance Ireland's standing as a location of choice for advanced therapy and vaccine manufacturing," he added.

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said that Ireland is fast becoming a world leader in advanced therapeutics - "the really high value, highly skilled work involved in making new vaccines and new treatments for rare and devastating diseases".

"In order to keep pace with what is always going to be a fast-developing area, we need to continuously invest in cutting-edge research and training for our workforce, so they can compete with the best on an international stage," he added.

Martin Shanahan, CEO IDA Ireland, said the expansion of NIBRT to respond to innovation in the sector greatly adds to Ireland's reputation as a global location of excellence for next-generation biopharmaceutical products.

"Cell & Gene therapy is a core pillar in the developing field of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs) which is widely considered as the next generation of pharmaceutical therapies. These products require highly innovative approaches to manufacturing and offer unparalleled opportunities in the treatment of disease," he added.

The Irish biopharma industry has seen over 20 new biologics manufacturing facilities developed across Ireland over the last decade and more than €12 billion in capital investment.

The sector now supports over 40,000 high quality jobs with a diverse range of new opportunities currently available with the world's leading biopharma and biotech employers.