By: Claire Wilson. Last Updated: April 2022


Cork’s Pharma Industry at a Glance

  • Over 13,000 are people directly employed by Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Manufacturing Companies in Cork – many more are employed indirectly
  • Home to seven of the world’s top 15 pharmaceutical companies
  • More than 25 companies have manufacturing sites

Sites in the county include a Shingo Prize Winner for excellence in manufacturing, one of the top nine most advanced factories in the world, and Ireland’s Best Workplace 2020. Read on to find out more…

Cork consistently ranks 2nd for having the most available Pharmaceutical and Medical Device jobs in Ireland. Click here to see all the latest Pharmaceutical and Medical Device jobs in Cork.

Map of Ireland Showing 56,000 Pharmaceutical Medical Device Employees Broken Down By County

We are continually updating this page and try hard to keep this information as accurate as possible. But if you know of a company we’ve missed or see data that needs correction, please contact us.

BTW, if you are interested in a career in the Pharmaceutical or Medtech industries or are considering upskilling for a better job or a promotion, check out our range of pharmaceutical courses.

Pharma & Medical Device Job Announcements in Cork

There has been much investment and a number of job announcements in Cork recently. Some of the most significant include:

Top Medical Device Companies in Cork


  • Activities: Medical Devices – Contact Lenses
  • Employees in Cork: 400

This Cork manufacturing site was established in 1991 by Summit Autonomous and bought by Alcon in 2000.

Alcon is a specialist eye care company that manufactures pharmaceutical products, contact lenses, and lens care products as well as surgical equipment and devices. It joined Novartis in 2012 and is now the company’s 2nd largest division.

The Cork plant is the European manufacturing centre for Alcon’s intraocular lenses (the lens that replaces the natural lens of the eye after removal during cataract surgery).

Take a look inside Alcon’s Cork manufacturing site…

Boston Scientific

  • Activities: Medical Device Manufacturing
  • Employees in Cork: 900

Boston Scientific produces a large range of medical devices used to diagnose and treat patients with issues in the areas of cardiology, urology, endoscopy, and many more.

The Cork manufacturing site was opened in 1998 and manufactures approximately 5 million medical device units per year (across several areas of the business). In 2016, the facility was awarded the prestigious Shingo Prize – an annual award given to recognise excellence in manufacturing.

In 2018, Boston Scientific’s Cork site won Corporate Company of the Year as well as the overall Company of the Year at the Cork Company of the Year Awards.

Johnson & Johnson (DePuy Synthes)

  • Activities: Medical Devices – Orthopaedic
  • Employees in Cork: 1030

Johnson & Johnson is one of the world’s leading healthcare companies. DePuy Synthes is a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary that manufactures orthopaedic medical devices. Its Cork manufacturing site has been operational since 1997.

In 2018, the Ringaskiddy site was named as one of the top nine most advanced factories in the world by the World Economic Forum for its use of Internet of Things (IoT) technology.


  • Activities: Medical Devices – Surgical Implants
  • Employees in Cork: 2270 (across four County Cork manufacturing sites)

Stryker manufactures medical technology with a focus on surgical devices – it is now one of the biggest such companies in the world.

The Cork Instruments plant develops and surgical instruments and associated technology. The Stryker Orthopaedics site in Cork researches and develops biomaterials as well as manufacturing knee and hip joints. In 2017, Stryker opened its Global Technology Development Center and Centralized Additive Technology manufacturing hub in Carrigtwohill.

Check out the video below for a closer look at Stryker in Ireland…

Top Pharmaceutical Companies in Cork


  • Activities: Pharma – Bulk Tablet Finishing
  • Employees in Cork: 150

AbbVie is the 6th biggest pharmaceutical company in the world (based on 2019 revenue). The company manufactures pharmaceutical treatments in therapy areas such as dermatology, oncology, neurological disorders, and metabolic diseases.

AbbVie’s site in Carrigtwohill manufactures solid and capsule formulations. As well as large-scale commercial manufacturing, the site also produces smaller-scale products for clinical trials.

AbbVie was named number 1 in Ireland’s Best Workplaces 2020.

Take a look inside AbbVie’s Cork manufacturing site…


  • Activities: Pharma – Biologics Drug Substance Manufacturing
  • Employees in Cork: 450

BioMarin is a biotechnology company that develops and manufactures treatments for rare genetic diseases.

The Cork biologics site is the company’s only manufacturing site outside of the USA. It was opened in 2011 and has undergone several expansions since then. In 2018, BioMarin announced plans to introduce a fill-finish facility at the Shanbally site, which will see it become capable of “fully integrated manufacturing from bulk to drug product”.

Gilead Sciences

  • Activities: Pharma – Manufacturing
  • Employees in Cork: 500

Gilead Sciences is the 13th biggest pharmaceutical company in the world (based on 2019 revenue).

The Cork site is responsible for manufacturing, quality control, packaging, and release and distribution of 11 products. It is the company’s only site outside of Germany to focus on worldwide tablet supply. The products manufactured here account for approximately a quarter of the tablet-form drugs the company produces.

In 2018, Gilead Sciences opened a new QC laboratory facility after a €9.5m investment within their Carrigtwohill plant and in 2020 it announced further investment and 40 new jobs in Cork.

Johnson & Johnson (Janssen)

  • Activities: Pharma – Manufacturing & Biologics Manufacturing
  • Employees in Cork: 1200

Johnson & Johnson is one of the biggest healthcare companies in the world and Janssen is the pharmaceutical division of Johnson & Johnson.

Janssen has two manufacturing sites in Cork.

Janssen Pharmaceutical Sciences was established in 1981 in Little Island and this site manufactures bulk active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Janssen Sciences opened the biologics manufacturing site in Ringaskiddy in 2005.

The site now manufactures four commercial products as well as products in development and for clinical trials and it currently employs 500 people. In 2017, Janssen Sciences announced a €300m expansion plans for the site.

Find out more about Janssen in Cork…


  • Activities: Pharma – Biologics, Pharmaceutical & Animal Health Manufacturing
  • Employees in Cork: 500

Lilly has had an API manufacturing site in Dunderrow, near Kinsale since 1981. This site now employees over 500 people and carries out three main activities – API manufacture and supply, small molecule commercialisation (late phase product development and optimisation), and biopharmaceutical commercialisation and supply.

The company has invested over €800m in the Cork site over the past decade. Most recently, in 2017, Lilly confirmed €200m investment plans to expand the Cork site. This expansion could lead to many more new jobs over the next few years.

Take a look inside Lilly’s Kinsale site…


  • Activities: Pharma – Biologics Testing & Manufacturing
  • Employees in Cork: 600

There has been an MSD site in Cork for almost 35 years. Its Brinny site develops, tests, and manufactures vaccines and biologics used to treat cancer, hepatitis C and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as biologics products for clinical trials. Products manufactured here are exported to 90 countries around the world.

MSD has made multiple investment announcements regarding the Brinny site over recent years and it is expected that several hundred new jobs will be created after these expansions have been completed.

MSD Brinny was a finalist in the Corporate category for Cork Company of the Year 2020.

Learn more about MSD in Ireland…


  • Activities: Pharma – API & Intermediate Manufacturing
  • Employees in Cork: 550

Novartis is the 3rd biggest pharmaceutical company in the world (based on 2019 revenue). It produces a range of products including pharmaceuticals, vaccines, contact lenses, over-the-counter drugs, and veterinary medicines.

The manufacturing site in Ringaskiddy has been operational since 1994, manufacturing intermediates and active pharmaceutical ingredients.

In 2021, Novartis was recognised as a Top Employer by the Top Employers Insititute.

See inside Novartis’ Cork operations…


  • Activities: Pharma – API Manufacturing
  • Employees in Cork: 980 (across two County Cork sites)

Pfizer is the largest pharmaceutical company in the world (based on 2019 revenue) and was the first pharmaceutical multinational to locate to Ireland in the 1960s. The company now has two active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing sites in Cork.

In Ringaskiddy, the site has three organic synthesis plants and a new product testing laboratory. There has been a Pfizer plant on this site since 1969. The Little Island was established in the early 1980s and there are currently a further two organic synthesis plants here.

Pfizer announced a further €300m investment in Ireland in 2020, that will see 300 jobs created across their sites at Cork, Dublin, and Kildare.

Thermo Fisher

  • Activities: Pharma – API Manufacturing
  • Employees in Cork: 450

Thermo Fisher is one of the world’s leading life science companies with 75,000 employees around the globe and revenue of $25 billion in 2019.

Their site in Cork was originally established in 1975 with Thermo Fisher taking over the operation of the site in 2019 from GlaxoSmithKline. It now produces active pharmaceutical ingredients for treating conditions such as cancer, depression, and Parkinson’s.

The company reinforced its commitment to Cork with the announcement of 36 new ‘high-level’ jobs in 2020.

Interested in a Pharma Manufacturing Career?

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About the Author

Image with Claire Wilison from GetReskilled Team

Claire Wilson

Content Marketing and Career Coaching

Claire runs GetReskilled’s Advanced Career Coaching Programme – our specially devised job hunting course that helps our trainees take that final step into employment by leading them through the job hunting process. She is extremely enthusiastic about helping people reach their final goal of employment in their new career path.

Claire has a BSc (Hons) in Medical Biology from Edinburgh University and spent 7 years working in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.