Innovation hub ‘will further boost pharma exports’

Ireland’s plan to develop its health innovation hub will see the pharmaceutical sector surpass its record €55bn annual exports, according to John Perry, the minister for small business.

Mr Perry told attendees at yesterday’s Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) breakfast seminar in Dublin, that pharma now accounts for 50% of all Irish exports, with nine of the top ten pharma and 15 of the top 25 medical technology companies now having significant operations in Ireland. The industry contributes total tax receipts of €3bn annually to Irish economy.

“Over the coming years, through investments in Innovation Fund Ireland, the State will partner with leading international venture capitals to provide liquidity to support the growth of world-leading high technology companies in Ireland.

“The biopharma industry is certainly one of the principal sectors that will benefit from this initiative. The Government is aware, as outlined in last week’s jobs strategy, that while the pharma industry has continued to grow, it does face considerable challenges.”

Mr Perry said these challenges include the impending expiry of patents, global over-capacity, significant research& costs and a low pipeline for new products in the pharmaceutical sector.

He cited downward pricing pressures from healthcare consumers, governments and insurers, and increased pressures to demonstrate efficacy of new products and value for money.

He also noted that Ireland needs to address a skills gaps in this area, and to develop its clinical R&D and innovation resources.

“The Government fully appreciates the contribution that FDI companies, such as those here today, make to our economy.

“For our part, we are aware of your needs and will strive to meet these by ensuring that there continues to be a highly-skilled workforce with an impressive track record, strong local management and a solid reputation for industry-academia collaboration.”

Mr Perry said the country has now positioned itself as a “global hub” for life sciences. He pointed to the presence of companies such as Abbott, Amgen, Bristol-Myers-Squibb, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, and Johnson & Johnson that have set up subsidiaries in Ireland.

He also pointed out the importance of the Government’s plan to enact a health information bill. Its aim would be to support a conducive environment for health research in Ireland.

As for IDA Ireland’s role over the past 30 years in attracting such pharma and life sciences players to Ireland, Mr Perry said the Government would continue to focus on ensuing a highly-skilled workforce to meet the needs of such multinationals.

Industry and university level collaboration would also continue to be a priority, he said, as well as maintaining Ireland’s 12.5% corporate tax rate and a 25% R&D tax credit.

Mr Perry also reminded attendees that there is no stamp duty on intellectual property transfer in Ireland.

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