Director General, BioPharmaChem Ireland
Advanced therapeutics are the new frontier to cure and treat medical needs, some unmet to date. Increased investment in the sector will help maintain Ireland’s position as a global life sciences leader.
Cell and gene therapies comprise a major part of advanced therapeutics with technologies such as chimeric antigen receptor – T cell or CAR-T able to provide a route to the permanent cure of diseases such as cancer. Recently, Ireland’s first CAR-T therapy was administered out of Trinity St James’s Cancer Institute. The patient was given the treatment for lymphoma. This is a very positive development for the evolution of therapeutics in this country.
Exciting therapy advancements
Advanced therapeutics do represent a significant opportunity for the Irish biopharma sector. The recent opening of the cell therapy production unit by Takeda at Grangecastle represents another important milestone. This will be Ireland’s first stem cell therapy production facility and heralds a further step in the journey of innovation that the sector has been on since its establishment back in the 1960s.
This journey has seen the sector evolve from the chemical synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), through final dosage forms, biotech manufacture right into the exiting new world of advanced therapeutics. The product being made at Grangecastle is designed to treat a side effect of irritable bowel syndrome and is an example of a family of products we know as cell and gene therapies.
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Achieving green and sustainable production
The European Commission has published a policy brief on Factory 5.0 – in their view Industry 5.0 can help to drive this twin transition and involves the interpretation of Industry 4.0 Technologies through a human centric lens. This brief emphasises the powerful role that industry can play in achieving societal goals through green and sustainable production.
There lies an opportunity for the sector in Ireland to defend its competitiveness while at the same time meeting its sustainability targets reducing its carbon footprint. By embracing the principles of Factory 5.0 Ireland can ensure the long-term future of the sector here.
There lies an opportunity for the sector in Ireland to defend its competitiveness while at the same time meeting its sustainability targets reducing its carbon footprint.
Building strong investment
Ideally Ireland will focus on developing a strong indigenous biotech sector to compliment a very strong multinational industry and a decision by Spear Street Capital to invest in a bioincubator at Cherrywood, South Dublin is welcome. The 30,000 square foot facility will be run by We Are Pioneer Group (WAPG, formerly Biocity), a UK based operator in incubating and accelerating life sciences businesses. It is hoped that initiatives such as this will help to grow out a strong indigenous life sciences sector that can complement the already strong FDI sector.