Life Sciences: Gilead Sciences — dedicated to making a real difference

David Cadogan, Vice President, Manufacturing Operations at Gilead Sciences and Killian MacDonald, Associate Director, Gilead Sciences. Pic: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

In association with Gilead Sciences

Gilead Sciences is a leading biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercialises innovative medicines in areas of unmet medical need.

Founded in San Francisco in 1987, the company recently opened a new €9.5 million facility at its Cork plant in Carrigtwohill, which will boost its production capacity for markets in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

The Cork plant manufactures drugs for the treatment of HIV and Hepatitis B and C, and is responsible for 30% of the company’s total production in tablet form.

“This significant expansion will have a positive impact on the production of vital medicines for hundreds of thousands of patients around the world,” commented David Cadogan, Vice-President of Manufacturing Operations at Gilead Sciences. 

“Over the last five years, manufacturing of a number of Gilead products has been transferred to the Carrigtwohill plant, resulting in a significant increase in our quality control testing requirements.”

Gilead was the first company to launch a single tablet regimen for HIV treatment, which transformed the treatment of people living with the condition.

Senator Colm Burke; Seán Sherlock, TD; David Cadogan, Vice President, Manufacturing Operations at Gilead Sciences, Minister David Stanton; Pat Buckley, TD and Kevin O’Keeffe, TD pictured launching the newly extended quality control lab at Gilead Sciences plant in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork.

Making a real difference in people’s lives

“Back in the early days, people living with HIV were forced to take a large number of different drugs to suppress the virus — a situation which Gilead was able to formulate into a single tablet.

“It has now reached the stage where a patient living with the HIV virus has the same life expectancy as the general public, which is a total transformation over the last number of years.”

Gilead Sciences continues to invest in HIV therapy and over the last three years, launched four new regimens for the treatment of HIV-1 infection.

“In recent years we have also developed a full portfolio of single tablet regimens for the treatment of Hepatitis C (HCV), and which has similarly transformed therapy for people with this virus. 

"All of these medicines are manufactured here in our Cork facility for supply worldwide.”

Cork manufactured products are packaged and labelled for over 90 countries around the world. 

More than 11.5 million people in the developing world are receiving a Gilead based therapy, and the company has been at the forefront of introducing its medicines in those countries where they are most needed.

Gilead is actively supporting worldwide efforts to eliminate HCV by 2030. 

With approximately 71 million people infected with HCV worldwide, Gilead’s single tablet regimens have helped to significantly reduce the total HCV burden worldwide.

Staff numbers have increased significantly at the Cork plant in recent years, rising from just 60 people when it was acquired from Nycomed in 2007 to 360 today. The company currently employs over 500 people in Ireland.

Having invested over €190 million in its Irish business since commencing operations here in 1999, the latest expansion follows capital expenditure of €20 million in its Irish operations last year.

“We are very much focused on bringing innovative drugs to patients around the world. 

"We employ over 360 full-time employees across three sites in Ireland — two in Cork and the third in Dublin.” 

The Carrigtwohill facility is the company’s manufacturing and packaging centre, and its nearby operation in Little Island deals with financial services. 

Dublin is the distribution centre for Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

“We are fortunate to have a fantastic workforce in Cork and Ireland, and we have grown over the last five years through the launching of ten different products out of Ireland. 

"We continue to encourage people who are interested in science based areas to pursue a career in science technology because there is a continual demand for graduates in these areas.

“We have access to a good cluster of skillsets here, and we work closely with UCC and sponsor their research awards and maintain an ongoing relationship with the college. 

UCC students visit Gilead

"Gilead is a fantastic place to work — a place where innovative medicines that make a real difference are produced.

“We are very focused on making a difference to peoples’ lives, and that resonates extremely strongly with the people who work here. 

"We have had a very active recent period of new launches, and continue to have an active pipeline of new products coming online.”

Supporting philantropy

Gilead recognises that treating and curing life-threatening diseases requires more than just medicines, and the company provides strategic philanthropic support to organisations that help improve the lives of people and their communities through educational outreach, social services and advocacy.

The company also strives to be a leader in supporting workplace diversity and inclusion, and improving its environmental stewardship in business operations and supplier relationships.

The newly extended quality control lab at Gilead Sciences in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork

“Community is very important to Gilead, and on our annual volunteer days our employees work with and support local community groups and organisations.

“On those days, Gilead also matches employees’ contributions to those CSR organisations to €2,000 per employee/per annum.”

As to the future, David Cadogan sees a continuation of Gilead Science’s profile in Ireland, and the maintaining of Gilead’s successful place in the Irish economy.

“Since we’ve established ourselves, we have had a capital investment of over €190 million and remain very committed to Ireland. 

"The opening of our €9.5 million facility earlier this year is further evidence of that.”

Date of preparation:

November 2018 —

999/UK/18-11/CI/1041

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