MeiraGTx’s, which makes gene therapy treatments for people with conditions such as Parkinson’s and vision loss, said it will hire 100 people at its facility in Shannon, Co. Clare.

The company officially launched its 150,000 square feet facility and said the site has the potential to employ over 300 people in future.

“MeiraGTx’s Shannon facility is unique, not only in Ireland but globally, as it streamlines gene therapy development, testing and manufacturing capabilities together in-house,” said Alexandria Forbes, CEO of MeiraGTx.

“This significantly reduces the time to patients for advanced therapeutic products, with months or potentially years saved,” she said.

In 2020, the company decided it would base a facility in the southwest as other other bioscience institutions, as well as partner companies in the healthcare sector, are located across the region.

MeiraGTx is currently working with pharmaceutical group Janssen, owned by Johnson & Johnson, on drug trials. It is unclear if there will be any direct collaboration between MeiraGTx’s site in Shannon and Janssen’s site in Cork.

MeiraGTx has previously worked with University Limerick and the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) on skills development.

“Along with our other facilities in New York, London and Amsterdam, the Shannon site will scale up and manufacture a broad range of gene therapies for people living with a variety of serious conditions,” said Ms Forbes.

The company said it is aiming to avoid bottlenecks in clinical development, reduce regulatory risk, and lower costs through its in-house manufacturing facility. The site is the first commercial-scale gene therapy manufacturing site in Ireland.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has placed a strain on the global gene therapy industry to manufacture critical components, as well as exposed the shortcomings in the supply chain,” said Alastair Leighton, senior VP of manufacturing and supply chain at MeiraGTx.

“The Shannon facility has been designed to address these challenges in order to provide access to transformative potential medicines to patients as well as be ready for significant future expansion,” he said.

MeiraGTx recently announced it secured a financing arrangement for up to $100m (€100m) which will help fund six programs in clinical development and a broad pipeline of preclinical and research programs.

In an earnings update, the company said it believes it will have sufficient capital to fund operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements into the fourth quarter of 2024.