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News & Events

Tánaiste meets with biopharma companies on defeating Covid-19

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD today (Tuesday the 6th of October) convened a meeting with a number of IDA Ireland’s bio -pharmaceutical client companies to hear about the crucial role they are playing in the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both nationally and internationally. 

The meeting, which was held over video conference included several of the bio pharmaceutical companies who are developing vaccines or therapeutic treatments in Ireland, which are: Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Gilead, Regeneron, Sanofi and Janssen Sciences, and focused on the work been done in Ireland to assist in the global efforts to treat COVID-19.

Speaking after the meeting the Tánaiste said:

I convened this meeting today with six of the major bio-pharmaceutical companies based here in Ireland to get an update from them on their progress towards developing a vaccine and treatments to defeat COVID-19. It was really interesting to hear from them how they are getting on and I was encouraged by some optimism around progress that is being made, while recognising of course that there is still a lot of work to be done.

Ireland is a really attractive location for bio-pharma and other high-tech companies to invest and with all of these major global companies based here, we have a real role to play in finding treatments and a vaccine for this virus. I also took the opportunity today to thank the companies and the 34,000 people they employ here, for the work they have been doing over the past few months to defeat Covid.”

 All participating firms agreed to keep government updated on developments.

 IDA Ireland’s Head of Head of Lifesciences Michael Lohansaid:

The FDI biopharma sector has a hugely significant impact on the Irish economy with 34,000 people directly employed and is the 3rd largest exporter of pharmaceuticals globally, accounting for exports of €80bn.

The sector has demonstrated commitment to Ireland through continued investment, longevity and resilience. The industry has demonstrated real leadership in the global fight against Covid-19 through collaboration on research to dynamic supply chain responses, directly supporting the demands placed on healthcare system and wider society.


Notes for Editors

Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Gilead, Regeneron, Sanofi and Janssen Sciences joined today’s meeting.

About Sanofi

Sanofi is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on human health. With more than 100,000 people in 100 countries, Sanofi is transforming scientific innovation into healthcare solutions around the globe.

At their €700m BioPharma and medical devices campus Waterford, a team of 800 people supply a diverse range of vital treatments to patients in more than 100 countries.

About Regeneron Limerick

Regeneron is a leading biotechnology company that invents life-transforming medicines for people with serious diseases. Founded and led for over 30 years by physician-scientists, our unique ability to repeatedly and consistently translate science into medicine has led to numerous European Medicines Agency (EMA) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved treatments and over twenty product candidates in development, all of which were homegrown in our laboratories. Our medicines and pipeline are designed to help patients with eye diseases, allergic and inflammatory diseases, cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, pain, infectious diseases and rare diseases.

Regeneron’s 64,000 square-metre, state-of-the-art Industrial Operations and Product Supply (IOPS) facility on approximately 20 hectares in the Raheen Business Park is the largest-scale bulk biologics production facility in Ireland. The facility became operational in 2015 and now employs more than 1,000 people. The company recently announced plans to expand their workforce by 40% and recruitment is ongoing to fill 400 new high-end specialist jobs in commercial manufacturing, process sciences, quality assurance/control and various support functions for scientists, chemists and technicians.

About Pfizer

Pfizer employs 4,000 people across Ireland and contributes over €2 billion annually to the economy.  Pfizer in Ireland manufactures much needed cancer, arthritis and stroke medicines and vaccines for patients in over 100 countries around the world.  Over 31,000 people now enrolled in Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine trial and the company is now manufacturing at risk to help address the global pandemic.

About Gilead Sciences

Gilead Sciences is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative therapeutics in areas of unmet medical need. The company’s mission is to advance the care of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases. Gilead has operations in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California.

Since 1999, Gilead has been building a strong presence in Ireland when it acquired NeXstar. Initially the U.S. pharmaceutical company focused on testing, release and distribution for the EU market. The company has significantly expanded its operations in Ireland to include drug product manufacturing and packaging for Europe and other markets outside the United States, a financial shared service centre and distribution and commercial operations.

Gilead is harnessing our decades of antiviral expertise to rapidly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are committed to putting our resources and research to bear as we work with regulatory authorities worldwide to advance potential treatments that may help in the global response to this public health emergency.

About Janssen Sciences Ireland

Janssen Sciences Ireland UC is part of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, the world’s most comprehensive and broadly-based manufacturer of healthcare products and related services.

Johnson & Johnson employs more than 5,000 highly skilled and motivated people in Ireland. These employees support the company’s pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer business through engineering, manufacturing, quality, sales and marketing, commercial and IT roles.  Johnson & Johnson operates 10 sites throughout Ireland, located in Cork, Dublin, Limerick, Galway and Mayo.

About Lilly 

Lilly has a workforce of over 2,000 highly qualified employees in Ireland, across their high-tech manufacturing campus in Kinsale and their Global Business Solutions centre in Little Island. The company is currently researching neutralising antibodies and an existing small molecule as potential treatments for COVID-19. Lilly Kinsale is a unique biopharmaceutical campus with capabilities to make active ingredients using both small molecule and monoclonal antibody manufacturing technologies.