The plant will make packaging components for insulin injector cartridges, and is expected to bring another 150 new jobs to the area. Construction of the 44-acre site at Knockhouse on Old Kilmeaden Road, is expected to start early next year.
The facility is being designed to accommodate expansion for multiple product lines, and will be a center of excellence for West’s proprietary elastomeric sheeting, which is used to package insulin for use in pen injectors.
”The seals are the critical functional part of the cartridge in the insulin pen system, and must meet the demands of preserving insulin efficacy and stability while being in direct contact with the drug material,” according to Don McMillan, Vice President of Operations for West P Pharmaceutical Packaging Systems.
Future plans include additional manufacturing space for West’s proprietary injectable component product lines, which are integral to many injectable and dosage forms, including Westar, a specialized sterilization process, McMillan says. With these expansions, the plant eventually could accommodate between 250 to 300 jobs and involve an investment in the range of €100m ($125m).
“Right now, our plans are focused primarily on manufacturing, although we will be performing process optimization and prices development work in Waterford,” said MacMillan. “Most of our traditional R&D and design work happens at different offices, although the campus concept allows for us to consider performing this function on site in the future,” he adds.
“We will adjust our plans periodically,” he continued, adding that “depending on customer demand, it’s our intention to continue expansions into 2020.”
The company considered several locations before settling on Ireland. “In general, it’s a very business-friendly environment, and it’s now home to many healthcare companies, many of which are current customers,” said MacMillan. “So its burgeoning life-science footprint is also attractive to us.”
West has had a presence in Ireland since 2005, with a manufacturing and development center in Dublin, which is the European headquarters for The Tech Group, a West subsidiary which specializes in providing device design, development and manufacturing services for pharmaceutical and med-tech customers.
West employs over 230 people at its Mulhuddart, Dublin facility, which is also being expanded to meet increased demand.