Eli Lilly's second biopharmaceutical manufacturing plant at the Kinsale site in Cork was opened in 2017. Image courtesy of the Eli Lilly Company.
The new plant at Kinsale manufactures and commercialises cancer and diabetes drugs produced by Eli Lilly. Image courtesy of the Eli Lilly Company.
Headquartered at Indianapolis, Eli Lilly has manufacturing facilities in 13 countries worldwide. Image courtesy of the Eli Lilly Company.

Eli Lilly announced the development of a new biomanufacturing plant in Ireland, in February 2012.

Located at the company’s campus in Kinsale, Cork, the facility is the company’s second commercialisation and manufacturing facility at the Kinsale site.

Previously, Eli Lilly broke ground for a biopharmaceutical development and manufacturing facility at Kinsale in 2006. The facility was inaugurated in 2010 and began full-scale commercial production in 2013.

Construction of the new facility began in 2012 and the facility was opened in 2017.

The new facility created approximately 300 jobs during the onsite building works and employed 200 pharmaceutical professionals upon commencement of operations.

Eli Lilly’s planned growth project

“IDA Ireland, the organisation responsible for bringing foreign direct investments to Ireland, has worked closely with Eli Lilly to attract investment.”

The project was undertaken as part of Eli Lilly’s planned growth strategy in the biopharmaceutical business.

IDA Ireland, the organisation that is responsible for bringing foreign direct investments to Ireland, has worked closely with Eli Lilly to attract the company’s further investment into the republic to foster employment and industrial growth.

The Action Plan for Jobs, announced by the Irish Government, included the measures regarding the creation of new jobs in the country in 2012.

It was principally targeted at attracting investments by multinational companies operating in high-end manufacturing and health/life sciences sectors such as Eli Lilly.

IDA Ireland achieved a significant start-up to achieving the targets of the Action Plan by encouraging Eli Lilly’s expansion in the country.

New facility at Kinsale, Cork

The new biopharmaceutical commercialisation and manufacturing facility was built over an area of 240,000ft2 near the existing facility at the Kinsale site. It features a new IE28 laboratory, which consists of biotech laboratories, quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) laboratories.

The biotech laboratories spanning approximately 1,700m² are equipped with several equipment and utilities including bioreactors, autoclaves, biosafety cabinets, fume hoods and cooling systems.

The QA and QC laboratories cover approximately 2,300m² space, comprising a microbiology laboratory and a kilo laboratory.

Eli Lilly’s expansion at its existing Kinsale campus and drugs produced

Announcement of the new manufacturing plant was Eli Lilly’s second big investment at Kinsale. The company announced the first investment of €300m ($400m) at the location in 2006.

The total investment made by the company in the Kinsale facility reached more than €1bn by 2012. Further, the company invested €35m ($39.8m) in 2016 to improve the permanent manufacturing facility at the site.

The main focus areas for the new plant are cancer and diabetes drugs. The drugs are manufactured in final dosage form that is shipped to finishing plants of the company located in different parts of the world. The finishing plants convert them to tablets, capsules or injectibles, depending on the drug’s approved dosage form.

Eli Lilly’s manufacturing base in Ireland

Eli Lilly’s manufacturing history in Ireland dates back to 1981, when the company established its first manufacturing facility in the republic.

“The manufacturing plant is Eli Lilly’s second big investment at Kinsale. The company announced the first of €300m ($400m) in 2006.”

Eli Lilly is headquartered in Indianapolis, US. The Irish branch of the company is located in Dunderrow, Kinsale.

The company currently has four manufacturing sites in the country, including Kinsale, Cork City, Sligo and Dublin.

These production facilities manufacture bulk quantities of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), biopharmaceutical products and animal vaccines.

Some of the drugs manufactured by these sites include Alimta, Evista, Strattera and Zyprexa.

The existing facility at Kinsale is involved in development and commercialisation of new products.

Contractors involved

Arup provided the architectural and engineering services for the development of the facility.

Marketing commentary for the pharmaceutical giant

The pharmaceutical sector plays a key role in the Irish industrial and economic growth as the industry is the second largest in Ireland. The republic has witnessed more than €7bn investment in pharmaceuticals in the last decade.

It has eventually grown to become the world’s biggest net exporter of pharmaceuticals.

Eli Lilly has attracted and invested significantly in a skilled workforce at the existing Kinsale manufacturing facility, therefore, expanding the site will provide synergistic benefits.