Life Sciences: Future looks bright for Life Sciences cluster

IDA Ireland: national overview

Ireland’s strong tradition of Life Sciences operational excellence which has been attracting manufacturing facilities from major Life Sciences companies for over 50 years now, continued in 2018, expanding the cluster of global names in manufacturing, process development and high-value services serving global markets.

Ireland is now home to all 10 of the top 10 global pharma companies; 14 out of the world’s top 15 multinationals have operations in Ireland, most of whom are large employers in regional locations.

There are 90 biopharma manufacturing plans in Ireland, 40+ of which are FDA approved, and 22 Biotech sites either built or under construction. 

There has been over €10bn investment in biopharma in a little more than a decade. 

At the end of 2017 some 28,500 people were directly employed in the pharmaceutical and biotech FDI sectors in Ireland. 

That will continue to grow with announcements from both established companies and new companies developing manufacturing facilities here.

Tommy Fanning, IDA Ireland’s Head of Biopharma & Food explains how the growth came about: “In the last ten years there has been a significant ramp up in large molecule, biologics manufacturing throughout Ireland, adding to our substantial traditional manufacturing base in small molecule API (active pharmaceutical ingredient) and OSD (oral solid dose). 

"Over €10bn in new investment has been committed in the last decade for new Biotech manufacturing facilities in both drug substance and drug product.

"This year we had a good mix of announcements from established global leaders like Biomarin in Cork, MSD in both Carlow and Dublin, PCI in Meath and Drogheda, alongside Takeda in Dublin and Abbvie in Sligo and then new companies Phibro in Sligo and Wuxi in Dundalk. 

We also had expansions announced by companies like Eurofins in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford and the Almac Group in Dundalk. That is a great vote of confidence in Ireland and our offering to the sector from existing companies and new investors.

What is most important to these companies is skills and this where Ireland can continue to differentiate itself. 

With establishment of a physical presence for NIBRT (National Institute for Bioprocessing Research & Training) in 2011, Ireland has created an invaluable support for the companies. 

NIBRT makes sure that biopharma manufacturing skills are available to the companies as they grow and also provides a launch pad for collaboration on bioprocessing research. 

In 2017, 4,000 people passed through the doors of NIBRT for training across a range of courses.

Meanwhile Ireland is now also a global leader in Medical Tech. 

14 out of the world’s top 15 leading multinationals now have operations in Ireland. 

The list reads like the who’s who of the global multinational community, including companies such as Boston Scientific, Medtronic, J&J/ DePuy, Stryker, Becton Dickinson, Baxter, Abbott, and Cook.

The number of investments grew in this sector too in 2018.

Rachel Shelly, IDA’s Head of Medical Technologies Division said: “This year we saw a terrific combination of announcements from new names and existing companies. Edwards Lifesciences’ announcement in March that it is to set up a manufacturing facility in the Mid West was a significant boost to the sector as was the arrival of Quidel to Galway.

“Expansions by Bausch in Waterford, Avery Dennison in Longford, and the opening of West Pharmaceutical’s global manufacturing facility in Waterford were other welcome developments. 

"Innovation is thriving as well — Becton Dickinson’s opened its new Global R&D centre in Limerick and most recently Agilent Technologies Ireland opened its purpose-built R&D extension to its Little Island, facility in Co Cork.

“Today, over 74% of companies are engaged in R&D. 32,000 people are directly employed in IDA client companies and two of IDA Ireland’s Med Tech companies, Boston Scientific and Medtronic, are among the top five employers in Ireland. 

"Companies like Abbott, Baxter, Stryker, Boston Scientific, Teleflex Medical, Medtronic, J +J, and Braun all have multiple Irish sites. 

"There’s also a strong global business services mandate — 25% of our companies are engaged in such services.”

She credits the State’s policy and investments in STEM and support for innovation, coupled with client companies investments in the talent they are securing in Ireland, for the sector’s evolution from manufacture of class I non-invasive devices to today’s highly innovative Class II invasive devices and class III combination drug devices. 

“The skills and support to drive this evolution to high end manufacturing and RD&I remain a central focus for IDA and Ireland” she said.

Martin Shanahan, IDA Ireland CEO, said that the very substantial contribution being made by the Life Sciences sector to Ireland’s economy is growing year on year.

“These are global companies operating at the highest level, using cutting edge technology and innovative processes to develop next generation medicines and medical devices to treat illnesses and medical conditions worldwide. 

"For example, 25% of the world’s population that have diabetes rely on injectable devices manufactured in Ireland — that is over 30 million people. 50% of ventilators worldwide in acute hospitals are Irish made. 

"33% of the world’s contact lenses are manufactured in Ireland and 80% of global stent production is carried out in Ireland while 75% of global orthopaedic knee production comes out of Ireland. 

"As a small island nation and against a backdrop of intense competition from other locations, geopolitical uncertainty and other challenges, we have developed a reputation in the sector that we can be justifiably proud of.”

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