Ireland's Life Sciences sector has grown from very humble beginnings in the 1960s to reach global significance. Collaborative clusters in Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, Medical Devices and Diagnostics have been a key element behind the remarkable growth of a sectors that directly employs 25,000 people
The Bio Pharmaceutical industry has made a capital investment of approximately $8 billion in new facilities in Ireland, most of which has come in the last 10 years. This represents close to the biggest wave of investment in new BioTech facilities anywhere in the world.
9 of the top 10
7th largest exporter
€39bn in annual exports
75 pharmaceutical companies
33 FDA approved
Ireland has one of the youngest and most highly educated populations in Europe. This provides a rich and strong pool of talent for the sector, which continues to benefit from high levels of investment in third-level education and the growth of collaborative clusters.
Ireland’s universities in the fields of Engineering, Chemistry, Bio Chemistry and Bio Technology have strong cooperative links with the sector. Feedback from the industry in terms of its skills needs feeds directly into the universities and drives Ireland’s pursuit of Bio Pharmaceutical academic excellence.
Manufacturing excellence in Bio Pharmaceuticals is a hallmark of Ireland's success in the sector. This is constantly driving growth in the likes of Bio Tech, which has developed from two manufacturing sites in 2003 to 18 in 2015.
A key driver of operational and research excellence is practitioner-to-practitioner knowledge sharing. With strong clusters based in Dublin and Cork, and rapidly developing hotspots around Sligo, Waterford and Mayo, organisations, such as the Irish Centre for Business Excellence and IBEC, work with the IDA to facilitate best practice-sharing between companies.
Ireland has an exemplary compliance record with regulatory agencies, including IMB, FDA and EMA. They work closely with companies to achieve trouble-free compliance. Certification agencies in Ireland operate in accordance with European and global standard procedures.
Ireland’s regulatory track record is excellent and the Irish Medicines Board, recently rebranded as the Health Product Regulatory Authority (HPRA), boasts an international reputation in regulatory compliance.
The HPRA has recently initiated Regulatory Science Ireland to explore opportunities for investment in research to increase understanding around processes and products, and thereby support Ireland’s reputation for regulatory excellence in manufacturing.
Ireland has a significant track record of clinical and academic research excellence. The government has also committed €8 billion to research funding to further bolster Ireland’s reputation as a growing hub for research and development.
The National Institute for Bioprocess Research and Training (NIBRT), created from a €60million investment by the IDA, gave practical training to 2,000 people in 2013. Senior executives from the sector sit on the NIBRT board in the knowledge that the availability of suitably trained staff is a key determinant of success in Bio Pharmaceutical manufacturing.
Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funds a lot of basic research in the Bio Pharmaceutical sector, especially with regards to understanding cancer, autoimmune disease and Alzheimer’s. Recently SFI announced a deal with Pfizer, whereby both parties are jointly funding basic Bio Medical research, which will help support Pfizer’s drug discovery efforts here in Ireland and globally.
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