Abbott (NYSE:ABT) today broke ground on a new FreeStyle Libre manufacturing facility in Kilkenny, Ireland.
Jared Watkin, SVP for Abbott’s diabetes care business, shared the news of the groundbreaking in a LinkedIn post.
In August 2022, Ireland announced Abbott’s plans to spend €440 million ($450 million) to expand its operations in Ireland. The investment included the creation of a new manufacturing facility in Kilkenny. It also featured further investment in the company’s Donegal Diabetes Care site, adding 1,000 new jobs between the sites.
“Abbott has a long and successful history, first establishing operations in Ireland in 1946, and this new investment is a great vote of confidence in the workforce here and in this country as a place to invest,” Irish Taoiseach Micheál Martin said at the time.
When the government announced this investment, the plant still needed to clear planning permission. According to KilkennyLive, that green light came in December. The plant substantially increases the company’s production capabilities for its FreeStyle Libre continuous glucose monitor technology.
The ceremony included Margaret Morrissey, country HR director, Watkin, Simon Harris TD, Minister for Justice and Minister of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Aoife Willis, FreeStyle Libre ambassador, Saman Kamali, site director and Mary Buckley, interim CEO, IDA Ireland.
“Today, Abbott broke ground at our new manufacturing facility in Kilkenny, Ireland, which will play a big part in helping us meet the growing global demand for our FreeStyle Libre portfolio. FreeStyle Libre, which is the most widely used continuous glucose monitoring portfolio in the world, has already changed the lives of 4.5 million people across more than 60 countries,” Watkin wrote.
In a news release, Watkin added: “This new facility, together with our diabetes care facility in Donegal, will help us meet the
growing demand and bring new highly skilled jobs to the community.”
The FDA cleared Abbott’s next-generation FreeStyle Libre 3 last year. The company earlier today announced clearance for an accompanying reader device.
Chair and CEO Robert Ford said on Abbott’s most recent earnings call that the company expects significant growth for the platform this year. That comes on the heals of a Medicare decision that massively benefits CGM makers.
More information on the new plant
In a news release, IDA Ireland — the foreign investment arm for the Irish government — shared further detail on the facility. It constitutes 30,000 square meters, or approximately 323,000 square feet. IDA Ireland said it will employ around 300 people during construction, then more than 800 people by the time manufacturing begins in 2024.
The company already has recruitment for permanent positions underway. Nearly 50 employees began working in Kilkenny already. New roles include engineering, quality control, medical device manufacturing and other science-based areas.
Minister Harris said Abbott has “played a leading role” across the last 77 years. The medtech giant helped to establish Ireland as a location for the global medtech sector, he said.
This new investment in Kilkenny will add to the high-value STEM jobs already created in the South-East region by Abbott at its vascular manufacturing facility in Clonmel,” Harris said. “This is an important investment for Ireland, and I am delighted to congratulate Abbott on this new diabetes care manufacturing facility in Kilkenny.”
IDA Ireland supported the new Kilkenny facility. Buckley called the investment “a further testament to deep roots” established by the company in Ireland.
“IDA Ireland’s strategy to win investments and jobs in regional locations includes encouraging and supporting established companies to develop additional regional sites and this is a prime example,” Buckley said. “This new manufacturing facility will deliver a substantial boost to the economy of the South East.”