Investing, Innovating, Inspiring - - BioPharm International


Investing, Innovating, Inspiring

BioPharm International

Explaining how and why he chose to relocate in Ireland he says, "People have asked me why I left Oxford [University]. Well, Ireland was a live opportunity, and there was a sense that things were happening there. Ireland was not an option 10 years ago. Twenty-five years ago Ireland was a little backwater, but now it has a new Nanocenter at Trinity College, Dublin, involving TCD, University College Dublin, and University College Cork. Ireland is now drawing people, and a critical mass of people is important, because of the need to have people to bounce ideas off. We also need benefactors to make Ireland the land of scholars."

View from the Top

Wyeth is the largest pharmaceutical firm in Ireland. The company has been manufacturing in Ireland since 1974, and it now has operations at four locations: Limerick, Kildare, Sligo, and Dublin. With 3,000 employees, Wyeth is also the largest employer in pharmaceuticals in Ireland.

Reg Shaw is managing director at the Wyeth BioPharma Campus in Dublin.

He recalls, "Against stiff competition, early in 2000 we decided to locate a plant at Grange Castle (west Dublin). It is a $1.8-billion investment. This is a biopharmaceutical plant, making product. We will make our rheumatoid arthritis product in Dublin, and a vaccine for children under the age of five. Then we have a new innovative antibiotic that can be used to treat very serious hospital infections."

Shaw continues, "The quality of the people funded under SFI was very important to us. Of our workforce, 6% are non-national workers, and 15 countries are represented at Wyeth Ireland. Another 6% are returning nationals who have experience mainly in the biopharm business."

He concludes, "The government's commitment to R&D was a critical consideration for us when we decided to locate at Grange Castle. The talent pool available was even more critical, since 60% of our workforce are graduates."


Quality of Life

In 2005 the Economist Intelligence Unit, a leading research and advisory firm with more than 40 offices worldwide, devised a Quality of Life Index for 111 countries. The result was that Ireland tops the list. To rank the countries, 9 criteria were used. The main factor was income (or "material well-being"), and the other 8 aspects of daily life considered important were health, freedom, unemployment, family life, climate, political stability and security, gender equality, and family and community life. The factors were analyzed, based on a score for each indicator, and the 111 countries were scored and ranked.

Ireland was ranked number one because the county successfully combines the most desirable elements of the new (the fourth-highest GDP per head in the world in 2005, low unemployment, and political liberties) with the preservation of elements of the old (such as stable family and community life).


A year earlier, Ireland was ranked number one on the Harvard Business Online Global Creative-Class Index. This index acknowledged Ireland as one of four countries where the "creative class" constitutes a third of the workforce. The index measures the creative edge a country possesses, and the potential strength of its economy, based on a single factor: the country's openness to new ideas. This is felt to be the characteristic that enables a nation to attract the brightest minds from around the world and to harness their creative energies. Harvard Business Online observed that Ireland is spending substantial sums on R&D and is firmly supporting its universities in an effort to attract the world's best minds. The Global Creative-Class Index, then, is a quantitative indicator of the migration of creative capital, with the understanding that wherever creativity goes, economic growth is sure to follow. Ireland was recognized as having a developing business community with education and research funded at high levels, and as being a nation that taps into the creative potential of growing numbers of workers at all levels.

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