Biopharma firm Gilead Sciences has received planning permission for a €45m expansion of its plant in Carrigtwohill in Cork.

The new 5,176 sq. m warehouse will significantly expand the facility's storage capacity at the site.

Currently Gilead’s Cork plant produces 30% of all of the company’s solid oral drugs.

The new building will store raw materials and finished goods and constriction is due to start in April, lasting 19 months.

"This is an exciting time for Gilead globally, and this development will facilitate additional future investment in our manufacturing and packaging capabilities in Ireland as we look to support an expanded Gilead product portfolio in the years ahead," said David Cadogan, Vice President of Manufacturing Operations at Gilead Sciences.

The new warehouse, which will house up to 5,800 pallets, will be built to high sustainability standards.

It will be fitted with 764 photovoltaic (PV) solar panels delivering 340KW of energy to enable the site expansion without an increase in carbon emissions.

These will be added to 1,489 existing onsite PV solar panels with the result that solar is expected to provide approximately 10% of the total energy needed to power the Carrigtwohill facility.

"We take our commitment to environmental sustainability seriously," said Mr Cadogan.

"In addition to our expansion in Cork, our new Paediatric Centre of Excellence in Dublin’s North Dock was the city’s first commercial office to achieve 'near zero energy building’ status."

California headquartered Gilead has had a presence in Ireland since 1999, and today has four sites in Dublin and Cork.