The world's largest manufacturer of animal medicines and vaccines has bought the former MSD pharmaceutical plant in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow. 

US-based company Zoetis, which already operates two sites in Ireland, confirmed to RTÉ News this evening it has completed the acquisition of the 84-acre site in Rathdrum.

MSD had employed 280 people at the site, but the operation was wound down over a three-year period, resulting in the loss of all jobs by November 2016.

In a statement Zoetis said they will gradually phase in operations at the site from later this year.

They say the Rathdrum facility will play a vital role the company’s global manufacturing and supply network.

A spokesperson was unable to say how many jobs might be created or how soon they will come on line.

Zoetis already employs 75 people at facilities in Dublin and Tullamore. 

The company manufactures antibiotics, vaccines and a range of other medicines for cattle, sheep, horses and domestic pets.