Director, BioPharmaChem Ireland
The manufacturing sector plays a vital role in the Irish economy as a leading exporter and employer.
BioPharmaChem Ireland (BPCI) has just published its strategy for the sector (2023–2027). The sector is diverse and manufactures a range of materials from chemicals, medicinal products and biotech substances to products based on cell and gene therapies or advanced pharmaceutical products. BPCI prioritises themes that have a direct impact on the manufacturing sector.
The two most significant challenges facing Europe over the next decade are the transition towards a climate-neutral society and the retention of our industrial competitiveness. Pharma 5.0 can help drive this twin transition and involves the interpretation of Industry 4.0 technologies through a human-centric lens.
It broadens the focus from solely shareholder value to value for all stakeholders in society and greater resilience — particularly in supply chains and the manufacturing of strategically important goods. Recent disruptions have shown the importance of Europe being more self-reliant and flexible in manufacturing and supply to adapt to changing conditions.
Advanced therapeutic products, such as cell and gene therapies (CGT) represent a significant opportunity
for the Irish biopharma sector.
Active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs)
Manufacturing APIs is critical for the future of pharmaceutical manufacturing in Europe. Ireland has a strong API sector; it is important that it stays competitive and continues to grow. The recent announcement by AstraZeneca to invest $360 million in a state-of-the-art digitised API facility in Dublin will help to hasten the future of the sector here.
Irish API sites will continue to transform through upskilling staff, investing in new technology platforms and manufacturing processes to be flexible, agile and at the cutting edge of API production.
Advanced therapeutic products
Advanced therapeutic products, such as cell and gene therapies (CGT) represent a significant opportunity for the Irish biopharma sector. The recent opening of the cell therapy production unit by Takeda in Grange Castle represents another important milestone.
CGT will provide a good platform of indigenous Irish companies to become involved in the overall Life Sciences cluster — a cluster that tends to be dominated by multinational companies. Already, Maynooth-based company Avectas and Dublin-based APC/VLE are developing quickly in the field, bringing platform technologies and contract research into the space. The industry awaits the upcoming report from the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs which will provide an analysis of the skills landscape in the country and a set of recommendations on how the industry can ensure that its growth will be supported by the right kind of talent base. Our education and training base must be closely aligned with the needs of the industry.