Press Release 16 Jun 2017


IDA Ireland has welcomed today’s joint-announcement by Bristol-Myers Squibb and South Korean company SK Biotek Co., Ltd of agreement for SK Biotek to acquire Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) Manufacturing Facility in Swords, Co Dublin.

• SK Biotek is the first Korean company to invest in pharmaceutical manufacturing in Ireland and anticipates further investment by adding R&D, marketing and additional manufacturing capabilities
• Bristol-Myers Squibb shifts manufacturing focus in Ireland to reflect growing biologics portfolio with ongoing investment in Cruiserath biologics facility

Today’s announcement in New York and Daejeon, South Korea, confirms that the two companies have signed a definitive purchase agreement for Bristol-Myers Squibb to sell its small molecule active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing facility in Swords, Ireland, to SK Biotek, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SK Holdings, based in Seoul, South Korea. All jobs on the Swords site dedicated to API Operations will transition to SK Biotek.  The companies intend to complete the deal by the fourth quarter 2017, at which time SK Biotek will continue to manufacture the current portfolio of small molecule pharmaceutical products at the site.

The Swords facility currently manufactures active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for a number of medicines including Bristol-Myers Squibb’s and Pfizer’s Eliquis.  Through the years, the site has produced medicines that have helped millions of people in the fight against serious diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS and psychiatric disorders.  SK Biotek will operate the plant as a stand-alone Contract Development Manufacturing Organization (CDMO), and intends to add marketing, research and development (R&D) talent, and invest in upgrades to bring additional capacity to the site. 

Bristol-Myers Squibb and SK Biotek anticipate that the transaction will close during the fourth quarter of 2017. Closing of the transaction is subject to SK Biotek’s receipt of certain environmental permits in addition to other customary closing conditions. The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies.
Speaking of the acquisition Junku Park Ph. D., chief executive officer of SK Biotek, commented “This transaction is an important step to achieve our goal of becoming a leading global CDMO. It allows us to enhance technological and manufacturing capacity and build long-term partnerships with existing and new customers. We have chosen to invest in Ireland because of the welcoming business environment and the exceptionally talented workforce, and we look forward to growing our presence in Swords in the coming years.  We are very pleased to welcome the Swords facility to SK Biotek.”

Lou Schmukler, president, Global Product Development & Supply, Bristol-Myers Squibb  said; “We value our partnership with SK Biotek and believe today’s agreement will continue the vital role the Swords facility plays for its employees, the community and patients.
Today’s agreement is an important step in the ongoing evolution of our manufacturing network to support the company’s innovative portfolio. Our continued investment in Ireland is critical for our ability to deliver transformational medicines to patients, both through the increased biologics capabilities we are building in Cruiserath and our ongoing commercial and business presence in Dublin.”

SK Biotek and Bristol-Myers Squibb have an established relationship in pharmaceutical manufacturing and supply. SK Biotek has been a supplier to Bristol-Myers Squibb for 10 years, and a key producer of commercial API starting materials and chemical intermediates.  With state of the art R&D facilities, multi-purpose manufacturing plants and a deep foundation in manufacturing technologies, SK has provided a high degree of flexibility and quality service to Bristol-Myers Squibb and continues to be a trusted partner from early phase development through to commercial production.

Commenting on the announcement CEO of IDA Ireland Martin Shanahan said: “I am delighted to welcome the South Korean company SK Biotek to Ireland. Great credit is acknowledged to both companies for having achieved an acquisition agreement which enables continuity of active pharmaceutical ingredients production and protects jobs on a site which has been involved in pharmaceuticals production for over 50-years. Ireland prides itself in delivering manufacturing excellence in the pharma industry and is home to nine of the ten top global pharmaceutical companies. I wish SK Biotek every success as they further develop the Swords facility in Dublin.”

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