Investing, Innovating, Inspiring - - BioPharm International


Investing, Innovating, Inspiring

BioPharm International

SFI Projects SFI has created a number of world-class research Centers of Science, Engineering, and Technology (CSETs). CSETs support research partnerships that link scientists and engineers with their industrial counterparts. One such CSET is the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Center (APC), which is receiving €16.5 million over five years to research drug treatments and pharmaceutical products. The APC's commercial partners include global giant Procter & Gamble, as well as Alimentary Health Limited, a company established to commercialize the output from the University College Cork. SFI has also made a €15 million CSET award to NUI Galway to establish the Regenerative Medicine Institute. Regenerative medicine is an emerging discipline that involves developing gene and cell therapy to promote tissue repair and regeneration. As a result of regenerative medicine's use of minimally invasive techniques, it promises to partially replace current conventional medicine.

Investing in Indigenous Companies

Enterprise Ireland's biotechnology strategy aims to maximize the creation and growth of commercially focused biotechnology companies in Ireland. On campus, Enterprise Ireland, the state agency responsible for the development of indigenous Irish industry, is active in funding applied research, which has a commercial output through its Commercialization Fund. Over 100 life sciences technologies are currently in the pipeline, with a number of these forming the basis for spinoff companies while others are being licensed to existing firms.

Enterprise Ireland commercialization specialists work with university technology transfer offices to help identify, protect, and exploit the technologies being developed. Campus-based incubation space for life sciences start-up companies has doubled in the last two years. Moreover, many facilities funded by Enterprise Ireland are fully occupied by client companies. Enterprise Ireland has provided almost €4 million to establish six facilities that are available to a range of clients, including university spinoffs, company spinoffs, entrepreneurs from overseas, and foreign companies wishing to relocate in Ireland. The incubators are a combination of laboratory and business space, with access to financial, legal, and marketing advice.

Enterprise Ireland, in conjunction with the Irish BioIndustry Association, is bringing industry and academia together to develop specific research and development projects that will help address the needs of industry in the short term. The initiative concentrates on two areas of particular interest to companies: in-line testing capability for bioprocessing, and miniaturization of diagnostics.

Enterprise Ireland has also been instrumental in promoting private sector seed and venture capital development in Ireland.

Networks have been very important for the life sciences sector, both within Ireland and abroad. BioConnect Ireland, BioLink USA-Ireland, and TechLink UK-Ireland are three organizations established in recent years that cooperate to keep individuals in Ireland, the US, and the UK in touch and informed about developments and opportunities within the sector.


Scientists and Entrepreneurs

Many of the best and brightest graduates left Ireland in the 1980s and 1990s when the level of scientific funding was low and jobs in science were hard to find. The situation has turned around since the late 1990s, when major funding became available for science and R&D for the first time, in the shape of PRTLI, set up in 1998, and SFI, established in 2000. Enterprise Ireland also significantly increased support for applied research and life sciences companies with high potential for growth. The positive upshot of these developments is that some of Ireland's top minds, who had nearly given up on the possibility of returning home, started to view things very differently. Given the transformation of the research climate, a return home became attractive.

Returned Scientist View

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