Decision on MSD's planning application for a major expansion at Carlow plant due in April

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Darren Hassett

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MSD in Carlow

A decision by Carlow County Council on pharmaceutical company MSD's planning application for a major expansion of its Carlow manufacturing plant is due by April 11. 

The company expects to add 170 jobs to the 400-plus already working in Carlow as it grows its capacity for biologics and vaccines at the site.

MSD submitted the planning application in recent weeks to Carlow County Council and expects the new facilities on the Dublin Road, Pollerton Little, Oak Park, to be in operation in the next few years.

The new facility, announced last October, will be built on a green-field site adjacent to the company's existing plant in the town.

Carlow was the drug group's first vaccine manufacturing site outside the United States under a previous investment in 2008.

The company is proposing to build a two-storey production building with a floor area of 8,782sq m (94,000sq ft) and a maximum height of 14.6m (just under 48ft).

It will house two production suites – a syringe filling and inspection suite and a vial filling suite.

The development will also include a large extension to an existing warehouse building and ancillary buildings, including new laboratory facilities. The company is also seeking permission for 190 new car-parking spaces.

MSD currently employs approximately 2,000 employees at sites in Carlow, Cork, Dublin and Tipperary.