Biopharmaceuticals: The Irish Industry

Biopharmaceutical Industry

Discover the Biopharmaceutical Industry in Ireland 

The biopharmaceutical industry is a major hub for Ireland consisting of over 60% of all exports. Ireland is the location of choice for Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing. There are over 75 biopharmaceutical companies based here. Currently, all of the top ten global biopharmaceutical companies are based in various clusters across the country. In Dublin, Pfizer and Bristol-Myers-Squibb are located. Eli Lilly and Novartis are based in Cork and Allergan and Abbvie in Mayo/Sligo region.

Annually 3,500 people train to work in the Biopharmaceutical industry as it offers challenging opportunities and career progression in biotechnology manufacturing. In the last decade, €10 billion has been invested in new biopharmaceutical production facilities around Ireland.

With such a strong Biopharmaceutical presence in Ireland, it offers great opportunities for early-career progressions. Currently, over 25,000 people are employed directly within the Biopharmaceutical Industry covering a range of roles at different levels. We have seen ourselves how Biopharmaceutical companies are benefiting from early career development with many of our students being placed in the industry. Many companies provide extensive training and development practices to nurture professional development in young employees. Find out which companies are hiring right now.

For example, Abbvie is a global research-based Biopharmaceutical company which employs more than 600 people across five locations in Ireland. Abbvie put a lot of focus on early career development by encouraging their employees to continuously upskill providing them training and development programmes to allow them to progress. Their early career development programme includes their intern and graduate operations development programme where participants aid in the continued success of the biopharmaceutical company.

Biopharmaceutical Companies in Ireland 

With over 75 different Biopharmaceutical companies in Ireland, each provides different types of manufacturing plants and skills required. Here are examples of the different types of manufacturing plants of the world's top biopharmaceutical companies based in Ireland.

Pfizer, the world's largest biopharmaceutical company, has a significant presence in Ireland with 7 locations. Pfizer specialises in Biologics, establishing medicines and vaccines to patients around the world.

Allergan specialises in small molecule and Biologics. They manufacture brand name drugs and medical devices in the areas of medical aesthetics, eye care, central nervous system and gastroenterology. They also are the maker of Botox. 

Eli Lilly is currently the largest manufacturer of psychiatric medications and several other products. They specialise on small molecules and biologics.

Novartis is one of the largest Biopharmaceutical companies by market capitalisation and sales manufacturing generic drugs, over-the-counter drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, contact lenses and animal health.

Bristol-Myers-Squibb manufactures prescription pharmaceuticals and biologics in several therapeutic areas including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and several more. 

Key Skills for the Biopharmaceutical Industry

After only naming a few Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing plants, you can see there are an array of different types of manufacturing plants, all requiring unique skill-sets to suit various roles. Some key skills that the Biopharmaceutical companies are looking for include the following depending on the role you are applying to:

  • Good Manufacturing Practice
  • Quality Control & Quality Assurance
  • Technical Writing
  • Cleanroom Operations
  • Clinical trials
  • Biopharma Manufacturing Operations
  • Validation
  • Data Analytics
  • Research & Development

As well as the technical skills, there are a number of transferable soft skills needed for the industry. These include problem-solving skills, teamwork skills, project management skills, communication skills and business skills to name a few. By displaying these skills you will become even more valuable to Biopharmaceutical hiring managers.

Our programmes are developed and delivered by professionals with real industry experience. They know what the biopharmaceutical companies are looking for and will help you advance your career in the industry through industry links and contacts. We provide professional development modules to help you brush up on your interpersonal & CV skills to meet the industry needs. We have a wide range of part-time online courses from certificate to masters level that will give you that cutting edge in your qualification and to prepare you for roles in Ireland's leading biopharmaceutical companies.

The Future of Biopharmaceuticals

The biopharmaceutical industry is fast-changing and I am sure you are interested to hear what the future will look like. In March 2020, The Biopharma Ambition event took place to explore the trends defining biopharmaceutical innovation right across the medicines lifecycle. Although this event took place before the global pandemic, It was brought into sharp focus the purpose of medicine innovation. The need to discover, develop and make the best medicines available quickly is more apparent than ever. With advancements in technology, we are experiencing a new wave of biopharmaceutical innovation on a global level. It was highlighted, that Ireland has huge potential in emerging areas like next-generation therapies, Industry 4.0, immunotherapies and genomics. With the right actions, we can catch this new wave of innovation while sustaining the strong biopharmaceutical manufacturing presence that we have made. The need for speed is essential as biopharmaceutical innovation has economic and health impact all around the world.

On a global scale, biopharmaceuticals generate revenue of $163 billion, making up about 20% of the pharma market. According to McKinsey, it is by far the fastest-growing part of the industry with the current annual growth rate of more than 8% is double that of the conventional pharma, and it is expected to continue to grow at that rate for the foreseeable future. It is clear that the Biopharmaceutical industry has a strong global impact. To sustain that impact and prepare for the future, the biopharma companies must look for new ways to create value and new metrics to make sense of today's wealth of data. As we transition into industry 4.0, advancements in technology will force companies to use innovative solutions to stay relevant. The integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning approaches within the industry is making drug discovery and development more innovative, time-effective and cost-effective.  

Ireland is uniquely positioned to play a significant role in the next generation of biopharmaceutical manufacturing and delivery of life-changing medicines. With advancements over the next 10 years, through advanced manufacturing and Industry 4.0, it is really important that people get the right skills aligned with those advancements. Here at Innopharma Education, we are helping people get ready for that change. There has never been a better time to upskill for the thriving biopharmaceutical industry in Ireland. Find out how our unique part-time online programmes can help you develop skills and knowledge for the industry. 


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