By: Claire Wilson BSc. Last Updated: February 2024

cork-flag-representing-the-medtech-and-pharmaceutical-industry-in-cork

Cork’s Pharma Industry at a Glance

  • Over 13,300 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
  • At least 30 different companies have manufacturing sites in the county

Cork’s manufacturing sites include a Shingo Prize Winner for excellence in manufacturing and one of the top nine most advanced factories in the world.

Read on to find out more…

Map of Ireland Showing 75,000 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 significant investment and a number of job announcements in Cork recently. Some of the most notable include:

  • AbbVie are creating 70 jobs in Cork with €60m investment
  • Boston Scientific announced 70 new jobs in Cork
  • GE Healthcare are creating 140 Cork jobs from a new €30.5m production line
  • Janssen investment to lead to 180 jobs
  • Merck KGaA announces €440m investment in Cork, creating 370 new jobs

Top Medical Device Companies in Cork

Alcon

  • Activities: Medical Devices – Contact Lenses
  • Employees in Cork: 700

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: 1200

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 was awarded the prestigious Shingo Prize (an annual award given to recognise excellence in manufacturing) in 2016.

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.

In 2021, the company announced a €30m investment in the site. The research, development, and innovation (RD&I) investment was expected to add 70 new jobs to the site and diversify the range of devices developed and manufactured there.

It is estimated that Boston Scientific’s Cork site now manufactures 18 million units every year, impacting 28 patient lives every minute.

Johnson & Johnson (DePuy Synthes)

  • Activities: Medical Devices – Orthopaedic
  • Employees in Cork: 1700

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.

Stryker

  • Activities: Medical Devices – Surgical Implants & Instruments
  • Employees in Cork: 4100 (across six County Cork sites)

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

Its six Cork sites are:

  • Springhill – Instrument manufacturing (opened 1998)
  • Tullagreen – Medical implant manufacturing (opened 1998)
  • Model Farm Road – Neurovascular device development and manufacturing (opened 2013)
  • Innovation Centre – Medical instrumentation global R&D (opened 2015)
  • Anngrove – Additive manufacturing (3D printing) & AMagine R&D Institute (opened 2016)
  • Macroom – T&E product manufacturing (acquired 2020)

In 2023, Stryker won “International Company of the Year’’ and “Overall Company of the Year’’ at the Cork Chamber awards.

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

Top Pharmaceutical Companies in Cork

AbbVie

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

AbbVie is the 2nd biggest pharmaceutical company in the world (based on 2022 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.

In 2022, the company announced a €60million investment for expansion and introduction of new technologies that is expected to eventually deliver another 70 jobs (including roles in sterile manufacturing, quality control and engineering). Manufacturing is expected to begin in 2025.

Take a look inside AbbVie’s Cork manufacturing site…

BioMarin

  • 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”.

That expansion was completed and opened in April 2023, making it one of only a few end-to-end commercial drug product manufacturing sites in Ireland.

Gilead Sciences

  • Activities: Pharma – Manufacturing
  • Employees in Cork: 530

Gilead Sciences is the 13th biggest pharmaceutical company in the world (based on 2022 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 third 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.

Most recently, in 2023, the company announced a €45 million investment to increase warehouse and storage at the Cork site.

Johnson & Johnson (Janssen)

  • Activities: Pharma – Manufacturing & Biologics Manufacturing
  • Employees in Cork: 1100

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

Janssen has two manufacturing sites in Cork.

Janssen Pharmaceutical Sciences established the Little Island site 1981. This site manufactures bulk active pharmaceutical ingredients for use by other Janssen sites and third party companies around the world in tablets, creams and injectable dosage forms. It is one of four within the company that make up the “small molecule cluster organisation”. Approximately 400 people work here.

Janssen Sciences opened the biologics manufacturing site in Ringaskiddy in 2005. The site now manufactures five commercial products as well as products in development and for clinical trials. It currently employs 700 people. In 2022, the company announced a €150m expansion that is expected to lead to another 180 jobs once completed.

Find out more about Janssen in Cork…

Lilly

  • Activities: Pharma – Biologics, Pharmaceutical & Animal Health Manufacturing
  • Employees in Cork: 2500 (including over 1000 in manufacturing)

Lilly has had an API manufacturing site in Dunderrow, near Kinsale since 1981. This site now employees over 1000 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 site is unique within Ireland as it houses chemical synthesis, biotechnology and continuous manufacturing.

The company has invested over €800m in the Cork site over the past decade.

Lilly was awarded “Cork Company of the Year” by Cork Chamber of Commerce in 2021.

Take a look inside Lilly’s Kinsale site…

MSD

  • 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…

Pfizer

  • Activities: Pharma – API Manufacturing
  • Employees in Cork: 800

Pfizer is the largest pharmaceutical company in the world (based on 2033 revenue) and was the first pharmaceutical multinational to locate to Ireland in the 1960s.

At the Ringaskiddy site, the company has three organic synthesis plants and a new product testing laboratory.

As well as manufacturing of bulk pharmaceuticals for export around the world, the site also works alongside Pfizer Global Research & Development to scale up new products for regulatory approval and launch.

Pfizer Ringaskiddy won the Health and Safety award at the Pharma Awards 2022.

Thermo Fisher

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

Thermo Fisher is one of the world’s leading life science companies with 130,000 employees around the globe and revenue of $45 billion in 2022.

Their site in Cork was originally established in 1975, with Thermo Fisher taking over the operation of the site from GlaxoSmithKline in 2019. 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. Most recently, in October 2023, the company opened a laboratory expansion that doubles lab capacity at the site.