Alkermes Manufacturing Re-jig Will Cost Over 100 Irish Jobs

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pharmacology

Alkermes to chop up to 130 jobs in Ireland
Alkermes to chop up to 130 jobs in Ireland
Alkermes says it intends to continue investing in its Irish facility although a restructuring plan will end some manufacturing operations and cost 130 jobs. 

The company – which acquired the manufacturing facility in Athlone, Ireland as part of the $960m (€730m) purchase of Elan Drug Technologies​ in 2011 – says staff cuts are necessary as some product lines are becoming uneconomic as a result of generic competition.

In an official statement, Alkermes said that following a review it expects to make “reductions of approximately 100 to 130 staff”​ over the next two years as “older product lines are phased out.”

However, when asked by, a spokesperson for the company said the facility was not being shuttered and would “remain strategically important to Alkermes’ global development and manufacturing network.”

Furthermore, “Alkermes intends to invest in the Athlone facility over the next number of years” ​focusing on developing and manufacturing newer and more profitable pharmaceutical product lines.

An SEC filing​ pertaining to a company report last week said the lines being cut were expected to contribute less than 5% to Alkermes’ total revenue.

The firm predicted that the restructuring plan in Ireland will save an estimated $15-20m annually by 2016 despite a one-time cost of $12.5m related to expenses linked employee cut-backs.

Between its site in Athlone and headquarters in Dublin, Alkermes currently employs 440 staff in Ireland.

Mixed Luck of the Irish

The news that Alkermes will continue to invest in Ireland whilst simultaneously reducing workforce reflects the unpredictable nature of the Irish pharmaceutical industry in recent years.

Within the last month we reported on the shuttering of MSD’s (Merck & Co.) API plant​ in Wicklow - at a cost of 280 jobs – yet have also covered the more optimistic news that 200 positions were to be created in Waterford at Nypro Healthcare’s new drug delivery device plant​.

Chief Executive of the Irish Industrial Development Authority (IDA), Barry O’Leary, told “the pharmaceutical sector remained a significant employer in Ireland,”​ but was facing a number of global challenges including over capacity and patent expiry.

O’Leary continued to say “significant fresh investment in the sector is underway and several other pharmaceutical projects are currently in play and being pursued aggressively by IDA.

“Among the investments won by Ireland in recent times include Mylan in Dublin, Abbott in Sligo, Allergan in Westport, Amgen in Dun Laoghaire, Eli Lilly in Cork and Sanofi in Waterford. These projects involve $1.5bn of investment and 1,200 jobs.”


In other news: Another boost to the Irish pharma industry as Swiss giant Novartis announced earlier this week it was to create 100 jobs at its Beech Hill Office Campus, Dublin. According to RTE News​, the jobs will include digital marketing, sales-force training and medical writing and the location was chosen partly due to accessibility and cost.

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