MSD to invest up to €25m in further Irish clinical trials

Pharmaceutical company’s trials over next three years will focus on cancer treatments

Healthcare potential: the MSD facility in Swords, Co Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Healthcare potential: the MSD facility in Swords, Co Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

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Pharma giant MSD – known in the US as Merck – is to expand its clinical trials programme in Ireland. The company, which employs about 1,800 people in its Irish operations, says it will invest up to €25 million in Ireland-based trials over the next three years and that the trials will focus on the latest developments in the treatment of cancer.

The announcement was made over the weekend to coincide with World Cancer Day on Saturday, February 4th.

Ger Brennan, managing director of MSD Ireland (Human Health), said the decision was a signal of the potential the company believes exists to increase Ireland’s standing in healthcare research and development globally.

MSD medical director Colm Galligan said that while there had been some progress in using Ireland as a base for clinical trials in recent years, there continued to be much scope for expansion.

“A report commissioned by Cancer Trials Ireland estimates that clinical trials can add from six to 15 quality-adjusted years for participants. Despite this, recent data shows that only 3 per cent of cancer patients in Ireland participate in a clinical trial,” Dr Galligan said.

The company said it is currently running 21 clinical trials in Ireland relating to cancer, Alzheimer’s and other areas.

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