The 1960s was a decade of optimism for the Irish economy. Under then Taoiseach (pronounced Tee-Shock), Seán Lemass, the Irish economy flourished for the first time since independence. The Industrial Development Authority (IDA) had been founded in 1949 with the vision of attracting foreign direct investment from large overseas companies.
The stage was set. Not unlike the movie “Field of Dreams”, the IDA was banking on a ‘build it and they will come’ approach. Thankfully, they did come.
The arrival of IBM in the 1950s represented the first major addition to the economy. More global brands would follow. The Pharmaceutical industry can trace its roots in Ireland back to the 1960s.
Compared to the Technology sector’s growth in Ireland, the Pharmaceutical sector is a slow burner. Much of the tremendous growth within the sector occurred within the last 20 years.
For example, in 2003 there were just two Biologics manufacturing sites in Ireland. After a burst of incredible growth and investment there are now 18. Similarly, there are now 300 MedTech companies currently doing business here, up from 50 in 1993.
According to the IDA,
“The Biopharmaceutical industry has made a capital investment of approximately $8 billion in new facilities in Ireland, most of which has come in the last 10 years. This represents close to the biggest wave of investment in new BioTech facilities anywhere in the world.”
Matching academic courses to career prospects
Education was also reformed in the 1960s with the government creating a Regional Technical College system and later two National Institutes for Higher Education. These became an incredible source of highly skilled graduates. The legacy persists today as Ireland boasts a 98% participation rate in the education system, which ranks 6th best in the world.
There, is of course, the very attractive corporate tax environment too. Ireland has a very favourable 12.5% corporate tax rate, a 25% Research & Development tax credit and an extensive range of tax treaty networks.
Why choose Ireland for expansion?
Company – MSD/Merck
- Location – Carlow and Cork
- Announcement – “MSD to create 330 new jobs in Cork and Carlow in massive €280m expansion”
Merck may be its more familiar company name, but outside the United States it trades as Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD). Following its merger with Schering-Plough in 2009, Merck/MSD became the second-largest pharmaceutical company in the world.
Arriving almost 50 years ago, Merck/MSD has invested more than €2.2bn in Ireland and is a large player in making Ireland one of the leading export countries in the sector. It has manufacturing facilities and offices across four counties and employs over 1,800 people in Ireland.
In May 2017 the company announced it would be looking to hire an additional 330 people across two locations – approximately 200 new jobs in Brinny, Co Cork and approximately 120 in Carlow.
“The expansion of our presence in Ireland is a testament to the talent of our Irish employees. In recent years, our Irish businesses have played an increasingly important role in the production of some of MSD’s most important breakthrough medicines for the global market.” - Sanat Chattopadhyay, executive vice-president of MSD and president of the company’s manufacturing division.
Speaking to the press Ger Brennan, managing director of MSD Human Health in Ireland, said
“Today, our Irish sites are involved in the production of over 50% of MSD’s global top 20 products, exporting to over 60 countries worldwide and helping lead the development of new life-changing medicines for patients, including MSD’s new treatments for cancer and hepatitis C.”
Company – Beckman Coulter
- Location – Clare
- Announcement – “Beckman Coulter is expanding the company’s development and manufacturing facility at Lismeehan, Co. Clare, creating 70 jobs over the next two to three years.”
Located in more than 130 countries, Beckman Coulter has two operational companies covering Diagnostics and Life Sciences.
The Diagnostics company delivers more than 250 million tests every year and helps physicians to diagnose, treat and monitor diseases such as prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, leukaemia, HIV, heart failure and heart attacks.
The Life Sciences company creates solutions that simplify complex processes, automate procedures, and integrate work flows to accelerate breakthroughs in scientific research, medicine, and industry.
The company are currently based in Lismeehan, County Clare. The 9,700 sq. metre facility employs 330 people involved in development, manufacturing and support of reagents for clinical chemistry, immunochemistry and haematology product lines at the site.
The expansion will add an additional 6,700 sq. metres to the facility. This will provide capacity for two new product streams and for the ongoing growth of the current product range. Construction is expected to commence in Q1 2018.
Piers Devereux, VP of Operations, commented:
“We are excited to build out our site here in County Clare. The calibre of the local workforce and the excellent support we receive from the community really sets this site apart.”
Big Business in a Small Country
Ireland being a small country has definite benefits for big businesses. As with Beckman Coulter, it is possible to have multiple locations across the country and not be landed with a logistical nightmare. With four international and five regional airports, and a robust road and rail network Ireland’s infrastructure has really strengthened our international competitiveness.
If you would like to hear more about opportunities for your business in Ireland, please get in touch today.