The 3-storey facility is expected to be based in Kerry Technology Park, Tralee, with a footprint of around 7,300 square metres. Astellas’ facility would be on a greenfield site provided by Industrial Development Authority (IDA) Ireland, an agency aimed to attract investments into Ireland from overseas. If planning permission is granted, Astellas aims to begin construction in 2024 and begin operations by 2028.
With the new facility, Astellas aims to expand its capacity for the production of aseptic drug products, bulk up global supply muscle and speed up the development of new products including antibody drugs.
"This announcement from Astellas is excellent news for the South West region and indeed Ireland,” Michael Lohan, CEO of IDA Ireland. “Astellas already has a presence in both Kerry and Dublin and this significant investment of approximately €330 million, adding a new state-of-the-art aseptic drug product facility, underscores the strategic importance Ireland plays in Astellas' global operations.
“The new facility in Tralee will be built with sustainability at its core and will showcase Ireland and our regional attractiveness as a location for investment."
To meet its sustainability targets, Astellas plans to cut water use by around half on the site, reduce energy intensity by more than a third and produce zero waste for landfill according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines. The firm also aims to use renewable technologies on the site to boost its sustainability, including solar panels and a biomass boiler.
Astellas isn’t the only big pharma company to expand its manufacturing capabilities, with other players including Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly and Company and Bayer. In 2022, for example, Novo Nordisk invested $744 million in its drug manufacturing facilities in Denmark. The company followed up in 2023 with plans to invest $2.27 billion in a production facility for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) for its future diabetes treatment portfolio.