The Irish BioIndustry Association (IBIA), established in 1998, currently represents 44 companies. It is the leading representative
body for the biotechnology industry in Ireland. Membership includes manufacturers, distributors, and those who support the
industry either through services or provision of advice, finance, and capital. Biotechnology company members primarily occupy
distinctive niches in the healthcare related areas. Indigenous companies include Elan, Biotrin, Tridelta, and Megazyme. There
is also an exciting level of campus company activity with increasing numbers of spin-offs from Irish University organizations.
The primary goal of IBIA is to enhance the environment in Ireland for the development of a successful biotechnology sector.
IBIA's role is to promote, support, and encourage further development of the multinational and indigenous biotech sector in
Ireland. IBIA achieves this by building and maintaining excellent relations with government, state agencies, other representative
organizations, and patient groups.
IBIA works closely with the research community to build a thriving biotech sector in the country. It is a full-time member
of the US and European trade associations, BIO and EuropeBIO, respectively.
The association actively participates in a range of activities, including intellectual property and patents, regulatory affairs,
and the promotion of research and development (R&D) collaborations within the sector. IBIA is very conscious of the role of
R&D in supporting bio-industries, and the association works closely with research institutions within universities and Enterprise
Ireland's Biotechnology Directorate.
The membership has outlined key objectives and aims for the association, which are reviewed on an ongoing basis and adapt
to evolving challenges and opportunities. Overall objectives include:
- Ensuring a regulatory regime which allows biotechnology companies to grow and prosper
- Communicating effectively to all stakeholders the benefits of biotechnology to society
- Actively promoting research and development in biotechnology and related sciences and partnerships between industry and universities
and institutes of technology
- Actively promoting an educational infrastructure which will support the biotechnology sector
- Actively participating in the work of the biotechnology industry with other members of the European Union
- Promoting a business environment that will enhance development of the biotech sector on the entire island of Ireland.
While advancing the objectives of members, IBIA reviews and revises its activities to ensure they are consistent with these
objectives. A cross-section of some key activities within the past year includes:
Industry-led R&D Initiative. IBIA and Enterprise Ireland have teamed up to bring industry and academia together to develop specific R&D projects that
will help address the short-term needs of the industry. The initiative is based on the Tekes model that has been used successfully
in Finland. IBIA members were surveyed, and two areas of particular interest to companies emerged: in-line testing capability
for bioprocessing and diagnostic miniaturization. Feasibility studies have been conducted in both areas by groups consisting
of both industry and academic leaders. If approved by the board of Enterprise Ireland, €2 million could be made available
to fund the research.
Conducting network events for industry and academic research entities. IBIA organized events in collaboration with Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). These platforms allowed SFI researchers to
present their research areas to the industry and enabled the industry to showcase their companies and the R&D they are currently
Promoting the Irish biotech industry at international forums. For the first time, the IBIA joined with the Industrial Development Agency, Enterprise Ireland, and Science Foundation Ireland
and commissioned a trade booth, which was unveiled at the BIO 2005 conference in Philadelphia. The stand was developed to
serve as an information center about Ireland to promote its advantages to biotechnology companies, researchers, and entrepreneurs
who wish to locate in Ireland.
Growth seminars. The IBIA joined forces with The Chalfont Project, an international consulting group, to provide members with a free periodical
advisory seminar on how to address strategic, organizational, and personnel issues from start-up through various stages of
company growth. The seminars covered numerous areas such as strategy articulation, product management, management for scientists
and behavioral changes.