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Life Sciences Q2 2024

Launch of strategic priorities at impact conference in Cork

Sinead Keogh, Director BPCI, Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath TD and Brian Killen, Digital Transformation Lead at MSD Manufacturing and Chair of BioPharmaChem Ireland.

Sinead Keogh (pictured left)

Director, BioPharmaChem Ireland and Ibec Head of Sectors

A report underscores the significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, escalating geopolitical tensions and increasing international competition, which collectively stress the need for Ireland to enhance its competitiveness

At the BioPharmaChem Ireland (BPCI) Impact 2024 Conference held in Cork, in May this year, Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath TD, was among the keynote speakers addressing an assembly of industry leaders and experts.

Unveiling sector policy priorities

The conference served as a platform for the biopharmachem sector to unveil its policy document, ‘Global Impact; The Importance of the Irish BioPharmaChem Industry.’ It delineates the key policy priorities for the Government, aiming to futureproof the sector.

The biopharmachem sector employs 80,000 people directly and indirectly, contributing €116 billion in exports annually. The sector has articulated its policy priorities across three pivotal areas: (1) talent and innovation; (2) sustainability support; and (3) collaboration.

Growth underscored by talent and innovation

Ireland’s biopharmachem sector thrives due to its highly skilled workforce, robust research ecosystem and favourable business environment. Leveraging the surplus in the National Training Fund to invest in digital, green, management and employability skills will be crucial for the sector’s resilience. This surplus offers a chance to support lifelong learning initiatives, addressing growing interest from employers.

Traditionally, the sector recruits PhD graduates, enabling Ireland to move up the value chain towards early-stage development and clinical manufacturing. To maintain this trajectory, investment in Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) is essential. This includes support for undergraduate education, innovative delivery models and state-of-the-art research infrastructure.

Infrastructure and support for sustainability

BPCI member companies annually report their environmental performance, akin to EPA requirements, in our Annual Responsible Care Report. The sector has improved energy efficiency, with a 0.4% decrease in energy consumption despite a 48.2% increase in production volume; companies are adopting cleaner technologies and energy-efficient practices, driving innovation and operational efficiency – but there is more to do.

The Government must develop a comprehensive national energy strategy, integrating renewable energy sources into the grid while enhancing financial and advisory supports for firms adopting sustainability best practices.

Strategic coordination through an ‘Office of Life Sciences’

Approximately 700 companies operate in Ireland’s biopharma, medtech and digital health sectors. These industries are converging through drug-device combination products, digital therapeutics and personalised medicines.

We’re advocating for the development of a national health technology and life sciences strategy. This strategy, spearheaded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, should be adequately resourced for effective implementation. The proposed ‘Office of LifeSciences’ aims to adopt industrial policies that prioritise resources and promote clustering, enabling strategic cross-sectoral cooperation.

By addressing these strategic priorities, the sector seeks to maintain its leadership position and continue its vital contributions to the Irish and global economies.

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