Waterford is set to receive a major jobs boost with plans for a potential billion dollar investment in the area by a multi-national pharmaceutical giant.

The IDA, the Irish state agency for industrial development, has confirmed it is in talks with the company about the creation of hundreds of jobs.

The Irish Times reports that talks are understood to be at an advanced stage with the multibillion dollar-valued multinational.

The paper says Waterford has established itself as a suitable base for pharmaceutical manufacturing after the recent success of Genzyme.

The company, owned by Sanofi, now employs 500 people in the area and is set to invest a further $65million in Waterford to allow it begin making its insulin drug, Lantus, by 2016.

The report says the latest investment is by an unnamed multinational which does not have a presence in the southeast.

The project is indicated in a tender document issued by Waterford City and County Council which is looking for contractors to prepare a 45-acre greenfield site owned by the IDA in Waterford for investment.

Sources have told the Irish Times that the project, which has been the subject of high-level discussions for months, is close to being green-lighted.

A statement from the IDA said: “IDA Ireland markets sites and properties throughout Ireland to potential inward investors. Among these properties is a 21.76 hectare site at Knockhouse, Old Kilmeaden Road, Waterford.

“In order to enhance the attributes of this site to potential inward investors, IDA has asked Waterford City and County Council to carry out site-levelling works during the summer/autumn of 2014.

“Planning consents are being sought in this context, and IDA will continue to discuss potential investment at the site with any relevant parties. As is customary, such discussions are confidential.”

The initial investment will be close to $700million rising to over a billion within five years and will be one of the biggest investments in Waterford in many years.