Irish pharmaceutical company APC invests 25 million euros in vaccine manufacturing


Irish research-based pharmaceutical company APC has announced a major expansion that will allow it to establish a vaccine manufacturing plant in Cherrywood, south Dublin.

The Dublin-based company’s € 25 million investment comes as a Covid-19 vaccine it is developing with Australian group Vaxine enters phase 2 clinical trials. The company says the investment will accelerate the development and manufacture of Covid vaccines and other advanced drug therapies. It plans to create 120 jobs.

APC describes itself as a drug accelerator, a company that helps other pharmaceutical companies accelerate drug development. It was founded in 2011 by Dr Mark Barrett and Professor Brian Glennon and was subsequently established by UCD.

About a third of the 25 million euros will be invested in expanding laboratory space at the company’s existing site in Cherrywood, adding approximately 12,000 square feet to the existing 60,000 square feet available. APC said this will support the acceleration of research into Covid-19 vaccines and other advanced therapies.

It is expected to be fully operational this month and will see 50 new jobs added to the 140 highly skilled people on site.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin at the APC Cherrywood plant, where the company announced a € 25 investment plan that includes a shift to vaccine manufacturing. Photograph: Brian Lawless / PA Wire

APC is also announcing the creation of a new company – VLE Therapeutics Ltd – which will focus on vaccine manufacturing as well as cell and gene therapy. The company will invest 17 million euros in this new venture.

“This will be the first Irish facility expressly designed to provide Ireland and Europe with a local supply chain for these essential medicines,” the company said. It aims to transform the time and cost required to produce vaccines and other new drugs.

The company says it will have a new manufacturing plant in place by the end of the year with the capacity to deliver up to 50 million doses of vaccine per year, involving the recruitment of another 70 people.

VLE intends to build its own manufacturing facility, also in Cherrywood, by the end of 2023. This 80,000 square foot space, he said, “will provide a world-class platform for the clinical and commercial manufacture of drugs and drug products for a wide range of vaccines and advanced therapies with a dose capacity of several hundred million ”.

Key contributor

Group Managing Director Dr Mark Barrett said the investment was “the culmination of our ambition for an Irish company to stand up and contribute, both nationally and globally, to the development and to the manufacture of Covid vaccines and other critical advanced therapies “.

“Ireland is a global pharmaceutical manufacturing powerhouse and we believe our technological advances can go hand in hand with this track record to accelerate the development and manufacture of these essential vaccines and advanced therapies for people in Ireland,” in Europe and around the world, ”said Dr Barrett.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the investment positions Ireland as a key contributor to the research and manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines and other critical advanced therapies.

“Today’s investment will make APC the world’s first ‘drug accelerator’, a place where molecules are entering the market at record speed through scientific expertise combined with digital innovation. It will revolutionize the way drugs are developed and delivered to patients.

“The fact that all of this is happening in Ireland, thanks to the work of a 100% Irish-owned company, is a testament to the wealth of talent and vision we have here in this country in the biotech and pharmaceutical space. .

“It is remarkable to think that, thanks to APC and VLE, ​​Ireland will soon have the capacity to manufacture hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine per year, a decision that should be totally transformative not only for patients, but for the entire sector. , both nationally and internationally.

On the map

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the announcement would put Ireland on the map as a major producer of vaccines, including the life-saving Covid-19 vaccine.

Enterprise Ireland Chief Executive Officer Leo Clancy said APC has “an outstanding track record, delivering breakthrough technology to the world’s largest pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies to optimize and accelerate drug development and production, including vaccines”.

He said the announcement further strengthens Ireland’s position “in the global vaccine development and manufacturing value chain”.

In addition to researching and manufacturing Covid-19 vaccines, APC is working on more than 20 drugs for other disease areas, including a variety of cancers, respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, and HIV. .

The company has worked with eight of the world’s 10 largest pharmaceutical groups and five of the 10 largest biotechnology companies.

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