These are exciting times for Ipsen in Ireland, with plans to expand the company’s already significant API manufacturing footprint to deal with increasing global demand for its products.

“Sales from [Somatuline® (lanreotide) and Decapeptyl® (triptorelin)] amounted to over EUR 700 million in 2015, which was over half of Ipsen’s global revenues of EUR 1.4 billion in 2015.”

French specialty-driven pharma outfit Ipsen has seen significant success in recent years, with global group sales totalling EUR 1.58 billion in 2016 – an 11.8 percent increase on the previous year -, 4,900 employees, operations in 115 countries, seven industrial sites and three major R&D centers. The group stands to grow even further with the recent acquisition of pancreatic cancer drug Onivyde® from Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, ambitious plans for further international expansion and the promise of a new global CEO in the near future.

Irish operations are integral to Ipsen’s future successes. The group’s manufacturing site in Dublin, first opened in 1989, is its center for the production and development of peptide active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). James Byrne, VP site for Ipsen Manufacturing in Ireland explains: “This is one of Ipsen’s key manufacturing facilities globally. Sales from [Somatuline® (lanreotide) and Decapeptyl® (triptorelin)] amounted to over EUR 700 million in 2015, which was over half of Ipsen’s global revenues of EUR 1.4 billion in 2015.” Furthermore, Byrne notes that “sales of Somatuline® have been growing rapidly: more than 30 percent in 2015 and close to 40 percent in H1 2016. This places a significant strain on our manufacturing – but it is a very nice challenge to have!”

In terms of Ipsen’s rationale behind basing their manufacturing in Ireland, as well as the competitive tax rates and strategic location, the concentration of expertise and human resources in the country is key. Ireland is one of the top ten pharmaceutical employers in Europe with around 28,000 employees, despite its comparatively small population size, and boasts a number of clusters which bring together expertise from academia, industry, and government. Byrne sees this as a key advantage, though not without its issues: “Being located in West Dublin, we are part of a rapidly expanding Bio Pharma cluster, so it can sometimes be easy for people to move to different companies since they do not even have to relocate! Fortunately, it works both ways and overall, being part of a cluster has huge benefits for Ipsen in terms of expertise and knowhow.”

Looking forward, Ipsen plans to strengthen Irish operations to deal with increasing demand for its products, Byrne proclaiming that, “we are looking to both add capacity and improve existing technology.” Within this expansion process, Byrne is ruthless in his commitment to maintaining the company’s manufacturing excellence: “we have set ourselves some ambitious targets to achieve: zero lost time accidents, 100 percent staff engagement, zero waste, 100 percent ‘right first time’ and 100 percent customer satisfaction … With so much expertise and a track record of excellence, I think this site is a great selling point for both Ipsen and Ireland itself.”

Writer: Patrick Burton