Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Questions (15)

Dara Calleary


15. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the way Irish pharmaceutical companies will be supported to avail of the opportunities for increased production and employment following the recent increase in new drug approvals by the US Food and Drug Administration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50550/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

The Life Sciences sector is central to the Action Plan for Jobs and in particular for Enterprise Ireland’s (EI) strategy to support its indigenous Irish clients to create jobs. As far as EI clients are concerned, the approval of a number of new drugs by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2013 is expected to provide limited opportunity for the indigenous pharmaceutical companies in the short term. The indigenous pharmaceutical manufacturing companies are mainly focussed on over the counter and generic pharmaceutical products and sold mainly in the UK and Europe. Those companies have access to all the full suite of state supports available to indigenous industry. If any opportunities arise for indigenous pharmaceutical companies, Enterprise Ireland will bring all its supports to bear in support of such opportunities. Enterprise Ireland continues to work closely with IDA Ireland to link indigenous companies with their FDI counterparts and this may generate some opportunities in support, services and sub contract manufacturing.

IDA are seeing some positive investment trends from existing and new clients concerning the manufacture of newly approved drugs in Ireland. Many of these new drugs are low volume and can be accommodated in existing Irish sites. However many of the newly approved drugs are biotech drugs and may well require greenfield, expansion investments and new job creation in bio-manufacturing.

Central to the continued success of Irish companies internationally has been their R&D capabilities, leadership and management strengths and collaborative partnerships with some of the world’s leading companies in the sector. The indigenous company base has extensive capabilities across the pharmaceutical and biotechnology supply chain including drug discovery, development and drug delivery; the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients; the manufacture of human and veterinary finished products; the provision of pharma services, including clinical trials management, regulation, engineering and construction.

The indigenous bio-pharmachemical sector plays a key role in this ecosystem and consists of approximately 100 Enterprise Ireland client companies. This sector has been growing at an average of 14% per annum over the last four years. In 2012, the sector had exports of over €450M, and employment of over 2,500 people. The indigenous sector is highly innovative and dynamic with companies competing successfully in international markets throughout the world e.g. Sigmoid, Opsona, Alimentary Health, ICON, Chanelle, TopChem, Barclays, Eirgen, Arran Chemicals etc.

The State has invested heavily through Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland in the development of a World-class Research Infrastructure by funding industry-academic research collaborations, Industry-led research programmes, Technology Centres and the Technology Gateways Programmes through the likes of the National Institute for Bioprocess Research and Training (NIBRT), the Solid State Pharmaceutics cluster and the Pharma Technology Centre. These centres aim to improve the productivity and competitiveness of the Irish biopharma industry by investing in research on next generation manufacturing processes and training & education of people to work in this industry.

A key focus for Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and other relevant stakeholder bodies is to promote and build expertise in ‘biological’ research, development and manufacture such that Ireland continues to develop as a globally recognised ‘biopharmaceutical hub’. The NIBRT facility has been effective in bringing training on large molecule manufacturing processes to the sector in Ireland that has successfully attracted and developed globally leading programmes from Allergan, Amgen, Centocor, Eli Lilly, Genzyme, Merck, Biomarin and Pfizer, as examples. Ireland now has a globally leading biopharmaceutical cluster in the next generation of pharmaceutical products.

IDA Ireland, through its overseas network, remains committed to maintaining and growing relationships with key decision makers in the pharmaceutical industry and can offer a wide variety of assistance to companies to support new investment and uplift in technical capability of existing clients.