O’Keeffe: Ireland is top location for pharma firms

IRELAND has positioned itself as an internationally recognised centre of excellence in the pharmaceutical industry, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation said yesterday.

Addressing the BioPharma Conference on Lean Manufacturing in Dublin, Batt O’Keeffe told delegates “we are now emerging as a top location for biopharmaceuticals with a strong mix of start-ups, high-growth SMEs and large multinationals located here”.

“The biopharma industry is of major importance to the Irish economy and I am delighted that the conference is focusing on lean manufacturing which is a key driver of competitiveness,” he said.

The sector has flourished here because of a number of critical intrinsic economic strengths, including:

* Innovative and resourceful labour force.

* High education standards.

* Proven level of manufacturing and compliance experience.

* Inherent ability to comply with demanding international regulations.

The minister said that “competitive corporate taxation rates” and “intellectual property tax incentives” and several other incentives has paved the way for a vibrant pharma sector to evolve here.

Mr O’Keeffe said the Government is strongly committed to supporting the continued growth of this key sector which supports 50,000 jobs directly and indirectly in Ireland.

Pharma expert Leo Gribben of Ernst & Young told delegates the nature of the sector as changed significantly in recent years.

“The domestically based pharma sector is completely intertwined with international performance and often the main objective for many is to be bought out by international buyers.

“In the tough trading environment out there Ireland must continue to make itself as attractive as possible as a location for foreign investment by the sector.

“Due to the global banking crisis and more firms are set to rely on venture capitalists for fresh funding.

“It is also the case that Ireland’s rebound “is slower than the international norm” with only one merger and acquisition taking place last year in the sector.

“Another trend in the business is the decision by governments not to keep “As a result pharma products must be researched, designed, manufactured and marketed as completely unique in order to command buyer support,” he said.


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