Corden cuts manufacturing in Cork

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Little island Manufacturing

Ireland’s API manufacturing sector suffered a blow on Friday with Corden Pharmachem’s announcement that it is phasing-out manufacturing at its facility in Little Island, Cork.

Corden has predominantly used the plant for the contract manufacture of actives for drug industry clients but does carry out some R&D activity at the site.

The decision to halt manufacture, which will result in the loss 90 active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) production jobs according to a report in the Irish Times​, is in response to the “substantial losses​” operations at the facility has incurred in recent years.

Corden said that: “The limited potential for the development and commercialisation of new products, the scale of the plant and the significant capital investment necessary for it, the Cork operation is no longer viable."

The firm added said it will begin winding down manufacturing operations in the autumn but added that it will maintain its R&D operations at the site with a staff of seven or eight research scientists.

Corden's Little Island facility was in the headlines in May last year after a fire at the plant caused the death of one of the firms workers. At the time the company temporarily laid-off 61 employees and suspended manufacturing operations.

Ireland’s API rollercoaster

Ireland’s biotechnology sector has been something of a rollercoaster in recent years with news of facility openings and closures alternating on a seemingly monthly basis.

The API sector looked to have suffered a major blow last summer when Pfizer decided to halt production operations and seek a buyer for its facility which, like the Corden plant, is located in the Little Island manufacturing hub.

However, Pfizer’s facility was eventually bought by Portuguese chemicals firm Hovione, which re-opened at as an API manufacturing base in April joining rivals like SAFC and Helsinn, which both operate in the region.

It is this kind of competition, coupled with fluctuations in demand for the contract production oif APIs, that makes Ireland an increasingly difficult base from which to operate and compete with the Asian manufacturing sector for some of the industry's smaller players.

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