Ireland’s global leadership in biopharma manufacturing is an excellent foundation on which to build a new leadership position in the development, manufacture, supply and adoption of advanced therapies and vaccines.
Over the last 15-20 years, Ireland has established itself as a global leader in biopharmaceutical manufacturing and has had great success in attracting multinational companies to establish manufacturing operations across the country. Biopharma foreign direct investment (FDI) has topped €10 billion over the last decade, with over 40,000 people now directly employed in a sector that contributes over €40 billion in national exports annually1.
The next wave of growth
It is predicted that advanced therapy medicinal products (or ATMPS) will become the main driver of biopharma growth over the next decade. They are a biopharma category that comprises a range of highly innovative medicines that includes cell-based therapies, gene-based therapies, engineered regenerative tissues and oligonucleotide-based (e.g. RNA) vaccines and therapies.
Ireland has a strong role to play in optimising and presenting solutions towards the efficient, cost-effective and safe manufacture of ATMPs.
ATMPs treat diseases at a fundamentally molecular level and represent a potential step-change in the precise personalised nature of treatment and in the capacity to deliver a sustained disease response or even a cure.
The power of ATMPs to offer substantial long-term benefits for patients is exemplified in the story of Emily Whitehead, who became the first paediatric patient in the world treated with the engineered autologous cell therapy CAR-T for ALL in 2012, and 10 years later is cancer-free and living a normal life2.
An opportunity for Ireland
The manufacture of these highly sophisticated therapies is complex, with the efficient and safe scaled-up manufacture of cell-based and gene-based therapies, in particular, presenting unique challenges. Building on our successful track-record in monoclonal antibody manufacturing, our existing infrastructure, experienced workforce and new investments, Ireland has a strong role to play in optimising and presenting solutions towards the efficient, cost-effective and safe manufacture of ATMPs.
Future investments in ATMPs
NIBRT has recently commenced an expansion of its training and research facility in Dublin. The expansion is funded by a capital investment from IDA Ireland / the Government of Ireland of €21 million. It will create dedicated additional space, including an extra five laboratories and two new training suites, for training and research in cell and gene therapy manufacturing. The new facility is scheduled to open in the first half of 2023 and NIBRT is currently hiring additional principal investigators for its research team and additional training staff.