The decision to suspend clinical trials of cholesterol drug dalcetrapib was a major blow to Roche Ireland in Clarecastle. The company had been developing this drug for nearly five years and invested an estimated $1 billion in trying to bring it to market. Much preparation had taken place at the plant in Clarecastle to lay the groundwork for the anticipated manufacture of the drug on-site. Since this decision has come to light, I have been in touch with management at Roche Ireland, the unions, workers and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton. I have also held direct discussions with the IDA (see email below).
I understand a decision by the Roche Corporation will be made next week regarding the impact of the decision to permanently suspend clinical trials of the new drug. The Clarecastle facility is a leading player in the Roche operation and I am aware that the team in Clarecastle has made a very strong presentation to senior executives in the Roche Corporation in the last few weeks. Retaining these high quality jobs and this excellent employer is hugely important for the local region, in terms of employment and the wider local economy. Roche Ireland is also very involved in the local community through sponsorship of sporting organisations and community events and has become part of the fabric of the local community.
The Clarecastle facility is a leading player in the Roche operation with sole production of the transplant drug “cellcept” which is preforming quiet strongly along with three other drugs. Over the years, Roche Ireland has had peaks and troughs but the Clarecastle plant has often been spoken well of in terms of its place within the global Roche operation. This is thanks in no small part to its dedicated and highly skilled workforce and its ability to adapt to and respond to market needs. The company has been a good employer and I hope they continue that tradition in the years ahead.
I refer to your recent representations on behalf of Roche Ireland regarding their plant at Clarecastle, Co Clare.
I appreciate your concerns regarding the jobs at the plant following Roche’s decision to cease production of the drug Dalcetrapib.
At this point in time it is too early to say what impact this decision will have on the Clarecastle site.
I understand that IDA Ireland has had discussions with the Head of the Small Molecule Division for Roche in Basel, Switzerland and IDA assures me that it will continue to liaise closely with the company in relation to the future of the site.
I have asked IDA to keep me informed of developments.
Richard Bruton T.D.
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation