One of Mayo's biggest employers was subject to a proposed multi-billion sale this week.
Allergan, which employs a staff of over 2,000 in Ireland - the majority of whom work in their Westport plant which first opened in 1977 - will be sold to fellow pharmaceutical company AbbVie in a deal worth in the region of $63 billion, it was reported in the national media this week.
If completed as expected by early next year, the merger will form the fourth biggest drug maker in the world. Allergan makes global supplies of leading anti-wrinkle treatment Botox from its manufacturing facilities in Westport, the company also makes drugs that are used in eye care, gastroenterology and to treat the central nervous system.
AbbVie has 700 employees in Ireland at present in five locations, including three manufacturing facilities in Sligo and Cork and two offices in Dublin.
As part of the reported deal, two directors at Allergan, including its chairman and chief executive, Brent Saunders, will join AbbVie’s board. The proposed sale comes three years after Allergan and Pfizer called off their proposed $160 billion merger.
In April Allergan announced that they would be investing €65 million into their Irish operations which would lead to the creation of 65 new jobs in their Westport plant - which would see the creation of a new manufacturing suite at its biologics facility and an upgrade of its ocular-implant facility in Westport.
The investment announced in April for their Westport plant focused on four key areas; two new manufacturing suites in its biologics facility to provide the capability to introduce new product formats for one of Allergan’s flagship products; and the launch of a new product currently in development, as well as the completion of a new state-of-the-art microbiology and cell-based laboratory.
At its ocular implant facility in Westport, Allergan is introducing automated manufacturing processes using high-end robotics. This new technology could be used to produce products that have the potential to revolutionise the treatment of common eye conditions such as glaucoma. The company is also upgrading its existing manufacturing capabilities and capacity for the introduction of new eye care products due to launch in the coming years.