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Dr Paul Duffy explains Ireland’s key role in Pfizer’s global strategy.
Pfizer was among the first wave of pharmaceutical companies to locate in Ireland when it established its first facility in May 1969.
Since then, the company has invested over $8bn in its Irish operations which include manufacturing, shared services, research and development (R&D), treasury, and commercial operations.
“We are a major contributor to Ireland’s economy,” says Dr Paul Duffy, vice president, Pfizer Global Supply.
“We are the largest single pharmaceutical investor and a significant employer in the country. We’ve built up a rich heritage of innovation and expansion over that time.
“Today, we employ 3,700 colleagues in six locations in the counties Cork, Dublin, and Kildare.”
The company is very active within the American Chamber of Commerce, with many former Pfizer colleagues having played a role.
Pfizer’s involvement in the Chamber continues to be strong — with seven Pfizer employees currently undertaking the AmCham Emerging Leaders course, who are set to graduate later this year from the new programme.
It is very evident just how important Irish operations are to Pfizer globally.
Paul Duffy says: “Ireland is a leading manufacturing base for Pfizer globally, and medicines manufactured in Ireland are distributed to more than 100 countries around the world.”
Looking to the future, Paul Duffy explains that the company has developed a new purpose which is “breakthroughs that change patients’ lives”.
He says: “We must advance scientific innovation that significantly improves current standards of care, and another priority is advancing innovation that addresses patient access.”
Continued investment in scientific R&D will deliver these breakthroughs.
“Scientific R&D is at the heart of fulfilling Pfizer’s purpose as we work to translate advanced science and technologies into the therapies that matter most,” says Dr Duffy.
“We continue to see a strong stream of R&D approvals. Last year, we received ten key approvals — all of which are important developments in helping to reduce the impact of disease on patients.”
Closer to home, Pfizer have a partnership with Science Foundation Ireland where the R&D group at Grange Castle partner with leading academic researchers from universities around the country in early-stage research.
One of Pfizer’s primary focuses for the future is on advancing research on gene therapy as one of the next developments in delivering potentially transformational medicines to patients who are living with genetic diseases.
It is also evident that there is an unmet need when it comes to patients who are suffering from rare diseases.
“We are committed to rare disease patients, and hope to unlock the promise of gene therapy for patients worldwide living with rare genetic diseases for whom the current standard of care falls short,” says Dr Duffy.
“If successful, the possibilities are hugely exciting.”
Pfizer is looking to go beyond just helping people manage their diseases.
Paul Duffy explains: “Our goal is to enable them to thrive in every stage of life.
"By using genes as medicine, we can address the underlying cause of a disease at the cellular level, and results could potentially be achieved in just one treatment.”
Paul Duffy looks ahead to what is next for Pfizer: “As we look to our next chapter, I personally feel it is our most exciting yet with approximately 80 innovative therapies in our pipeline.
"Our colleagues across all our Irish operations — Ringsend, Ringaskiddy, Little Island, Newbridge, Grange Castle and Citywest — all play a significant role in delivering breakthroughs that change patients’ lives.”