BioPharmaChem Ireland Launch Priorities to Government at Impact Conference in Cork

May 27, 2024

Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath TD was among the key speakers at the BioPharmaChem Impact 2024 Conference held today at Fota, Cork. The conference brought together leading business leaders and experts from across the BioPharmaChem sector to discuss the future of the sector and launch its priorities for government, “Global Impact; The Importance of the Irish BioPharmaChem Industry.” The document outlines key policy priorities for the Government to futureproof the sector.

The report highlights how the pandemic, geopolitical tensions, and heightened international competition are emphasising a renewed focus on competitiveness. The sector has identified policy priorities across four key areas:

  1. Achieving sustainability goals through strengthening financial, regulatory, and advisory supports.
  2. Encouraging and resourcing innovation and broadening the ecosystem supported by an “Office of LifeSciences.”
  3. Meeting skills demand through effective implementation of the recommendations of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs for BioPharma.
  4. Remaining competitive through fit-for-purpose regulation.

The BioPharmaChem sector currently employs 80,000 people both directly and indirectly and contributes €116 billion in exports annually. Last month, BioPharmaChem Ireland welcomed the publication of the Government’s Expert Group on Future Skills Needs Report for BioPharma, outlining steps necessary to ensure Ireland is ready to capitalise on the next phase of growth for the sector. Currently, more than 120 multinational and indigenous companies operate within the sector in Ireland, directly employing 50,000 highly skilled individuals—a number that has grown by 61% since 2016.

Brian Killen, Digital Transformation Lead at MSD Manufacturing and Chair of BioPharmaChem Ireland, spoke at the event:

"Ireland's ability to capitalise on the global biopharma sector stems from its highly skilled workforce, supportive research ecosystem, and competitive business environment. The Government must decisively invest in life sciences research and address the €307 million funding gap in higher education to maintain its position. Cultivating a talent pipeline is essential for sustained growth and a critical review of R&D support systems is necessary. Implementing specific measures to advance Irish research and innovation will boost the BioPharmaChem sector's global competitiveness. Our policy report not only futureproofs our economy but also allows us to continue serving patients at home and around the world.

Speaking about the key areas of focus for the sector, Dr Sinead Keogh, Director of BioPharmaChem Ireland, said:

"One of Ireland's most significant success stories is its life sciences industry, attracting substantial investments from the world's top companies and creating jobs alongside homegrown businesses that drive disruptive innovation. Currently, around 700 companies operate in the biopharma, medtech, and digital health sectors in Ireland."

"With our colleagues in Irish Medtech, we are advocating for the Government to develop a national health technology and life sciences strategy, spearheaded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, with adequate resources allocated within the department for its implementation. Establishing an 'Office of Life Sciences' will facilitate the adoption of industrial policies that prioritise resources and promote clustering, enabling Ireland to achieve more strategic cross-sectoral cooperation."

“Our manufacturing reputation is indisputably high. However, to keep pace with international business trends and the complex health innovation ecosystem, we must continue to adapt and evolve. To maintain our competitiveness, we need to engage key stakeholders across government and industry to work together to ensure effective policies and leverage our unique position in the healthtech and life sciences ecosystem.”

BioPharmaChem Impact 24 is hosted by BioPharmaChem Ireland with Gold Sponsors, Camida and KPMG and Silver Sponsors: BioPharmaChem Skillnet, CLS, IDA Ireland, Innopharma, Kuehne + Nagel, Laboratory Apprenticeships, Micro-Bio, PMTC, PWC.

Our “Global Impact; The Importance of the Irish BioPharmaChem Industry.” policy document is available here.