The rapid recruitment in Munster of pharma workers in response to Covid-19 continues with biomedical testing firm Beckman Coulter announcing more than 30 new positions following the expansion of its site in Co Clare.
The plant manufacturers a key serology product to help test a person's level of antibodies to Sars-CoV-2, the strain of coronavirus that causes Covid-19. The test is already being manufactured and is now available in a number of countries.
Beckman Coulter's site director Orlaith Lawler said the company is proud to be able to contribute to the worldwide fight against Covid-19.
“We are very proud of our employees who have been working around the clock, across multiple sites and time zones, to bring these tests so quickly to the market,” said Ms Lawler.
“Serology testing is a key tool to address important issues as we look to open up the economy, return to work, prepare for a vaccine, and move past this pandemic.
“While it is not known if IgG antibodies offer lasting Sars-CoV-2 immunity, the IgG-specific test can provide important information regarding individual and population immunity levels.
“Since Sars-CoV-2 is a new virus, we are still learning how our immune response works against Covid-19 and exactly how long antibodies last.”
Beckman Coulter employs 407 people in Ireland and has completed a significant expansion of its facility in Tulla, Co Clare. It also recently announced a new partnership with Lenco Labs in the US to bring tens of thousands of these tests to New York.
Separately, biotech firm Regeneron sought additional workers in Limerick for its Covid-19 response efforts.
The New York-headquartered company signed a €395m contract with the US government to produce thousands of doses of its REGN-COV2 antibody cocktail to treat and prevent infection from Covid-19.
If clinical trials confirm the effectiveness of REGN-COV2, Regeneron aims to have hundreds of thousands of treatment doses ready for distribution this autumn.
The company said that to enable its US manufacturing site to produce large-scale quantities of REGN-COV2, it has licensed additional products to be manufactured at the Limerick facility which is based in the former Dell site at Raheen, where 1,000 people are employed.
A spokesperson for Regeneron said that the company’s industrial operations and product supply teams in Limerick and in Rensselaer, New York, work to make medicines at both manufacturing facilities.