National pharma leaders MSD, HPRA, NIBRT, BioPharmaChem Ireland call for collaborative approach to ensure Ireland remains competitive.
Guaranteed Irish held its annual Pharmaceutical Forum, titled Future-Proofing Ireland’s Thriving Pharmaceutical Sector in 2021 and Beyond, virtually this year, on Thursday January 21st. The panel discussion was hosted by newly appointed Managing Director of MSD Ireland (Human Health) Mairead McCaul, who was joined by an expert line-up of fellow industry leading speakers to include Lorraine Nolan CEO of HPRA, Darrin Morrissey CEO of the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research & Training (NIBRT) and Matt Moran Director of BioPharmaChem Ireland, Ibec.
The panel discussed the significant contribution of the pharmaceutical sector to Irish society as well as the local economy. Ireland is home to 24 of the top biotech and pharmaceutical firms in the world to include MSD, AbbVie, Abbot, Teva, Pfizer, Bayer, AstraZeneca, and Allergan. The sector currently employs over 30,000 people in Ireland directly, and a further 30,000 people indirectly nationwide, and has seen large scale growth in R&D innovation and manufacturing in recent years. Worth over €80 billion in exports to the Irish economy, Ireland is the 7th largest exporter of medicinal products in the world.
Amongst many topics, the panel discussed the future trends for biopharma in Ireland, R&D and manufacturing opportunities, the growth in advanced therapeutics building employment opportunities in specialised roles, and the sector’s commitment to a patient-centric, partnership approach. Lorraine Nolan CEO of HPRA said, ‘Establishing strong collaborative partnerships with key stakeholders across the Irish health system will be critical so that patients have access to the most safe and effective medicines.’
The panel shared insights on how the pharma sector had responded to key challenges, for example Lorraine Nolan CEO of HPRA examined the collaborative work undertaken in recent years by the sector to ensure continued supply throughout Brexit, as well as the collaboration on a local and international level between local pharma companies, multinational firms, and agencies at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Commenting on this Lorraine Nolan said, ‘The HPRA will continue to enable a vibrant research ecosystem so that Ireland remains a global leader in the biopharmaceutical sector.’
Darrin Morrissey CEO of NIBRT discussed the criteria for Ireland to continue to attract further investments, including investing in Ireland’s talent pool of tomorrow with an emphasis on new skills and capabilities to retain our competitive advantage on a global stage. NIBRT professionally train over 4,500 people in Ireland every year, ensuring academic excellence for the future of Irish innovation, manufacturing, and supply.
The panel highlighted the emerging trends in Cell & Gene Therapy (CGT), Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs), novel vaccines, and medtech, as well as the opportunities for Ireland to remain its place as a global leader in biopharmaceutical manufacturing. ‘As biological medicines become ever more complex, particularly in the area of cell and gene therapies, ATMPs and drug-device combinations, the HPRA will continue to evolve so that medicines regulation adds real value,’ Lorraine Nolan of HPRA said.
Matt Moran Director of BioPharmaChem Ireland, Ibec spoke about the opportunities for Ireland, particularly in Advanced Therapeutics and Cell & Gene Therapy, ‘Ireland has a thriving biopharmaceutical sector, in the late 90s it successfully expanded through the addition of a thriving biotech sector to its footprint. Advanced Therapeutics, including Cell and Gene Therapies is the next opportunity that the country must grasp. With nearly 1000 start-ups around the globe and over 1000 clinical trials underway it is imperative that the industry here embraces these new and exciting technologies which will bring so many benefits to patients around the globe as well as continuing to drive the enormous economic contribution that the sector makes to the Irish economy.’
Speaking on the event, Mairead McCaul, Managing Director, MSD Ireland (Human Health), ‘Events such as this are critical to ensure the pharmaceutical sector continues to grow and thrive, bringing together experts to share our expertise and experiences, as well as identifying ways we can continue to anticipate the key trends coming down the tracks and ensure we are well skilled and resourced to meet these needs today and into the future, so that Ireland continue to lead the way in biopharmaceutical manufacturing excellence. On behalf of my colleagues at MSD, I’m delighted to have participated in this event and to see such a positive representation from across Ireland’s crucial pharmaceutical sector. MSD has been a proud member of Guaranteed Irish for over 10 years and we applaud the work that It does to highlight how significant the pharmaceutical sector is to Ireland’s economy, the active role we play in the communities in which we operate, and the sustainable, highly skilled, and long-term jobs our industry provides nationwide.’
Brid O’Connell CEO of Guaranteed Irish, ended the webinar thanking all participants noting, ‘There is an opportunity for collaboration between both homegrown and international pharmaceuticals, the medical device sector and the tech sector. Ireland is a global leader in all of these areas, we need to maximise this space to catapult Ireland in a direction that safeguards employment, fosters entrepreneurialism and positions Ireland as a global leader of the future, making us #AllTogetherBetter.’
This webinar was recorded and is available to watch back now.