A pharmaceutical company head-quartered in Ireland but with branches in the US, Poland and Malaysia, is understood to be set to establish a major research and development and manufacturing enterprise in Mullingar.
The Offaly-based firm, SteriPack is understood to have agreed a deal to buy the former Imperial Tobacco premises on the eastern side of Mullingar.
SteriPack is understood to be planning to set up a Lifesciences Park, where the focus will be on the medical devices and pharma sector.
Job numbers are not yet confirmed, but are understood to be significant – with a three-digit intake possible.
A spokesperson for SteriPack confirmed this week that it has been negotiating with the owners of the 110,000 square foot premises.
But, the spokesperson said,a deal has not yet been finalised, although that is expected to happen in the coming days.
A planning application is being lodged this week with Westmeath County Council seeking permission to change the use of the Imperial Tobacco plant from warehouse to offices, cleanrooms and a research laboratory. A new reception extension is also planned together with new finishes.
“Mullingar is an ideal location for this: it’s 40 minutes from the M50 and an hour from the airport – with no traffic lights in between,” the spokesperson said.
Given the profile of the firm, it is anticipated that once the project gets off the ground, around a third of the employees are likely to be graduates.
Steripack, established in 1994, has 500 employees across its four existing facilities.
Its growth in the last ten years has been rapid: just over ten years ago, the firm opened its first international plant, SteriPack Poland. In 2008, SteriPack Malaysia was founded and in 2012, it expanded into the US.
The firm offers contract manufacturing services, from initial concept to finished product, and has partnerships with some of the world’s largest heathcare companies.
It was in June last year that Imperial Tobacco Limited announced it was closing its Mullingar facility with the loss of 87 jobs, must of whom were to leave by last October.
At the time, management at Imperial Tobacco blamed new EU legislation which introduced 30g minimum pack sizes for rolling tobacco products from May 2016, resulting in the decommissioning of a number of production lines.