Up to 250 positions will be created for PhD level students, laboratory staff, and other clinical development professionals in the coming years, with the opening of PPD’s research and testing facility in Athlone this week.
The new €14 million facility, opened by Taoiseach Brian Cowen on Monday, will conduct testing for clinical and commercial programmes spanning all phases of drug development, and will allow PPD to serve its growing client base in Europe and the Middle East.
Twenty-seven people are already employed at the plant, with recruitment underway for several new positions. It is expected that the target 250 jobs will come on stream within four to five years.
Speaking at the official opening of the facility at the IDA Business Park in Garrycastle, Mr Cowen said the facility was a “most welcome addition to the Midlands Life Science’s cluster”.
“PPD’s decision to locate this world class operation here is of great significance to this region and to Ireland as a whole. The creation of 250 high value-added jobs will make a substantial contribution to the regional economy,” said Mr Cowen.
He added that the project was “fully in line with IDA Ireland’s and the Government’s policy of attracting the highest quality investment from the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors to Ireland”, and thanked in particular the IDA’s Barry O’Leary for his work in winning cutting edge investment for the region.
PPD’s CEO General David Grange told those gathered that Athlone was the ideal choice for the new facility because of its location in the centre of Ireland, and as home to Athlone Institute of Technology which is highly recognised for its programmes in analytical and pharmaceutical chemistry.
“It is important to mention that we are committed to playing a key role in the economic development of Athlone. The majority of our employees hired to date live in and around the Athlone area, and we will continue to do our best to source highly skilled local employees to hire,” he said.
Welcoming the company to the town, mayor of Athlone Cllr Mark Cooney said the IDA business park was “a showpiece in the region” and paid tribute to the Taoiseach and the IDA for their vision in attracting PPD to Athlone. He said PPD could be assured of the ongoing support of the people of Athlone, and of the council whose responsibility it is to ensure the infrastructure is there for continued expansion.
PPD is a leading global contract research organisation providing discovery and development services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device companies, and academic and government agencies. Clients include almost all of the world’s top 50 pharmaceutical companies and more than 250 biotechnology/small pharmaceutical and medical device companies.