Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is to invest €1.2 billion in the construction and development of a new manufacturing plant in Dublin.

It said 400-500 new permanent jobs will be created by the investment, which is the biggest made by the company in Ireland to date.

The development will see a new facility built in Grange Castle, which will double the capacity for biological drug substance manufacturing there.

It is hoped that construction will begin in 2024 with the plant due for completion by 2027.

"We are very pleased about today's announcement, as it significantly strengthens our operations in Ireland, where we have three high-performing and strategic manufacturing sites," said Mike McDermott, Chief Global Supply Officer and Executive Vice President at Pfizer.

"Grange Castle has played a critical role in our global Covid-19 vaccine network, and this investment for non-Covid licensed and pipeline products, will help to further expand the site’s broad and robust capabilities."

Mike McDermott, Chief Global Supply Officer and Executive Vice President at Pfizer

Pfizer employs 5,000 people in Ireland and currently over 2,000 of those are employed at the Grange Castle site, which opened 20 years ago.

Pfizer has had operations in Ireland for over 50 years, having first set up a presence in the country in 1969.

Speaking at this morning’s event, the Taoiseach said the announcement reinforces that Ireland is a place where life sciences can thrive.

He said it is a ringing endorsement of the existing employees and it is a tribute to the great work of Pfizer staff in Ireland.

The Grange Castle site currently manufactures and develops a wide range of medicines and vaccines across a range of areas, including rare diseases.

Last year, the company announced that it was investing €40m in the site as the facility was brought onto the global Pfizer Covid-19 manufacturing network.

Pfizer also has manufacturing plants in Newbridge, Co Kildare and Ringaskiddy, Co Cork.

Together they produce medicines and vaccines in the areas of arthritis, inflammation, cancer, anti-infectives, haemophilia, pain and stroke.

Overall, Pfizer has invested $9bn in capital over its time in Ireland. The US company operates from five locations around the country.

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IDA Ireland welcomed the announcement. Interim CEO Mary Buckley said, ''Pfizer has had a presence in Ireland for over 50 years and this major additional investment, adding further drug substance capacity to its already substantial Irish operations and jobs, underscores the strategic importance of Ireland in Pfizer’s global operations.

"It is proof of the company’s future commitment to Ireland and testament to Ireland’s continued attractiveness as a location for investment,’’ she said.

BioPharmaChem Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the biopharma and chemical sector in Ireland, also welcomed today's announcement from Pfizer.

BPCI Director Matt Moran said, "To underpin the sector's continued growth and capacity to compete internationally for resources and talent, it is imperative that the industry continues to invest in these kind of advanced manufacturing projects. It is great to see Pfizer endorse the Irish business model, and BPCI and the wider industry warmly welcome this investment."