American pharmaceutical giant Regeneron will create more than 400 new jobs at its Limerick facility, bringing the total number of people employed at the campus to more than 1,400. 

The expansion is a direct result of the company's decision to develop its new COVID-19 drug, REGN-COV2, at its New York facility.

The drug has been shown to prevent and treat the virus in rhesus macaque monkeys and hamsters and Regeneron is increasing production of other medicines in Limerick to facilitate the production of REGN-COV2 in New York. 

Regeneron's International Operations and Product Supply facility in Raheen, County Limerick, is therefore offering full-time, high-end specialist jobs in commercial manufacturing, process sciences, and quality assurance and control.

The company is also offering roles in supply chain and support functions for scientists, chemists and technicians.

Dan van Plew, executive vice-president and general manager of international operations and product supply at Regeneron, said that the new roles will help to create space at the New York facility to produce the potential new antibody-based treatment for COVID-19. 

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"As this pandemic hit, we needed to quickly change how we do things and where we make our products. In order to make space in our New York facilities to accommodate our COVID-19 efforts, we needed to ramp-up capacity here in Limerick," van Plew said. 

Niall O'Leary, vice-president and site head at the Limerick facility, said that the news further highlights the company's rapid expansion in Ireland.

"Just six years ago, we hired our first employee in Limerick. Today, we have more than 1,000 full-time employees at our Limerick campus and with this latest announcement we are adding an additional 400 people to our world-class team," O'Leary said. 

Regeneron's Limerick campus is the largest bulk biologics production facility in Ireland and the American giant has invested more than $1 billion in the Limerick plant since 2015.

The Limerick facility is responsible for producing, labeling, packaging, and supplying Regeneron products that are used around the world. 

The news was welcomed by both Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tanásite Leo Varadkar, who visited the Limerick facility on Friday. 

Martin said that the company's expansion demonstrated multinational companies' continued confidence in Ireland even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Ireland continues to resonate with leading global companies for investment," Martin said.

"The Government’s mission over the coming months and years is to rebuild our society and economy in the post-COVID world. We need to get people back to work and to protect and create sustainable jobs." 

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