FDI of the Month October 2018: MSD announced 170 new jobs for Carlow

FDI of the Month | Fri 2 Nov | Author – Business & Finance
Ger Brennan MSD Taoiseach Leo Varadkar Martin Shanahan IDA
Pictured: Ger Brennan, Managing Director of MSD Human Health, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Martin Shanahan, CEO, IDA Ireland.

Healthcare company MSD announced the construction of a second manufacturing facility at its Carlow site, adding 170 new jobs to the 400 currently employed there. MSD Carlow opened in 2008 as MSD’s first vaccines facility outside of the US.

The new facility planned by MSD at the Carlow site will focus on the production of vaccines and biologics, and include an expansion of warehouse and laboratory services. It is scheduled to open in 2023. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar welcomed the news from t MSD—known as Merck in the US and Canada—which has been operating in Ireland for 50 years. He said:

The company has gone from strength to strength since first opening in Carlow in 2008 and it now employs more than 2,000 people across the country.”

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD added that the new facility will be “a tremendous asset to our pharma industry and will deepen the great partnership that already exists between Ireland and the company”.

Ger Brennan MSD Taoiseach Leo Varadkar Martin Shanahan IDA

Ger Brennan, Managing Director, MSD Human Health, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Martin Shanahan, CEO, IDA Ireland

Martin Shanahan, CEO, IDA Ireland called the decision a strong endorsement of the talent and skills in Ireland and in the South East Region.

The ability to attract highly skilled employees and develop the skillsets required through collaborative partnerships with third level institutions and NIBRT has helped to deepen MSD’s commitment to Ireland and we wish them continued success.”

“MSD’s continued investment in Ireland is due to continued access to highly-skilled employees as well as collaborative partnerships with Government and Third Level institutions,” said Ger Brennan, Managing Director of MSD Human Health in Ireland.

Ger Brennan, Managing Director of MSD Human Health

Ger Brennan, Managing Director of MSD Human Health

Karin Shanahan, SVP, Global Biologics & Sterile Ops, MSD, said that: “The decision to further invest in Carlow is a real testament to the talent of the current Carlow team and MSD Ireland’s wider employee base and reinforces MSD’s commitment to Ireland, further strengthening our 50-year strong legacy here.”

Commitment to Ireland

Earlier this year, MSD announced a new facility, MSD Biotech in Swords, Co Dublin with 350 jobs to be created when it commences full manufacturing operations in 2021.

In the past five decades MSD has invested over €2.2bn in Ireland and contributes significantly towards making the pharmaceutical industry the country’s leading export sector. MSD employs over 2,000 people across its sites in Ireland, which encompass manufacturing, R&D, commercial and marketing facilities in addition to global support services.


The Ballydine, Co Tipperary site exports to more than 30 countries, including Japan, the US and much of Europe. It produces active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for use by MSD subsidiaries throughout the world, including late stage clinical APIs.

The site includes a formulation, R&D and manufacturing facility, which supports MSD’s initiative to bring new medicines to market more effectively. It develops innovative ways to formulate new products from pilot to commercial scale, and supplies tablets for late stage clinical trials, launch and early stage supply.


The MSD site in Brinny, Cork, has a long and proud tradition of manufacturing excellence as well as a strong legacy in the biopharmaceutical sector.

An integrated site for the development, testing and manufacturing of biologics, Brinny specialises in the fermentation, purification and sterile filling of biotech products, including some of the company’s most successful treatments for oncology, hepatitis C and rheumatoid arthritis. Playing a vital role in MSD’s large-scale microbial operations, the site also manufactures products used in clinical studies around the world.

The Brinny site has been a vibrant part of the local Innishannon community for nearly 35 years and is now one of the region’s largest employers, with a team of 500 people on site, and growing. Products manufactured at Brinny are exported to 90 countries across the world.


Carlow is MSD’s first stand-alone human vaccine facility. It’s a state-of-the-art, 200,000 sq ft biologics operation in which MSD has invested €220 million. At this facility, MSD formulates and fills vaccines and biologic products for use by people across the world.