A blue ribbon company heavily invested in Ireland
‘It makes no sense to invest in the manufacturing of medicines and then not put equal effort on partnering with industry to ensure Irish people benefit’
Todd Manning, AbbVie Ireland, presenting the award for Manufacturing to Martin Cahill and Hugh Maguire from Ash Technologies Ltd at the Irish Times Innovation Awards 2017 at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. Photograph: Conor McCabe
US headquartered AbbVie is a good example of the kind of MNCs choosing to invest here. A global biopharmaceutical company with 29,000 employees worldwide, the company creates new medicines for chronic, serious health issues by combining advanced science with deep knowledge of diseases.
It does this by harnessing Irish expertise in complex chemical and biological research, testing discoveries through clinical trials as well as manufacturing many of its medicines and delivery devices here in Ireland.
The company became a major global force by developing treatments for a wide range of illnesses linked to rogue reactions within the body’s immune system and, in recent years, it also successfully moved into the treatment of hepatitis c and blood cancer.
AbbVie is heavily invested in Ireland, with manufacturing at three locations in Sligo and Cork alongside a commercial office in Dublin. In recent years, alongside job creation and investment announcements in manufacturing, it also announced a series of high-profile partnerships with Irish researchers. The most recent of these involves Genomics Medicines Ireland’s ambitious plans to unravel the Irish genetic code in order to gain fresh insights into a range of diseases and medical conditions, a project the State is also supporting through the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.
Todd Manning, the Irish General Manager of US-based AbbVie, believes Ireland can continue to punch well above its weight in the biopharma life science sector but he also counsels that that the national commitment to innovation in this sector must be both holistic and consistent if it is to be sustainable in the long term.
“Given the global focus of pharma companies such as AbbVie, Ireland should continue to be well positioned for investment and jobs in the very competitive manufacturing and R&D space. Critical to maintaining the momentum Ireland has built is the Government’s continued support of pro-investment policy and an increased focus and investment into Stem education. The jobs pharma will create require qualified people to fill them,” he says.
“It important to bear in mind that these life-altering innovations are only meaningful if they benefit people. It makes no sense for Ireland to invest in the discovery and manufacturing of innovative medicines and then not put equal emphasis on partnering with industry to ensure people in Ireland benefit.
“Of course it’s not access to new innovative treatments at any cost, but let’s also recognise that this innovation has very significant value for society, not least in the lives of individuals who have health challenges. AbbVie believes more can be done to attract clinical trials to Ireland and ensure people in Ireland have access to medicine innovation rapidly after regulatory approval.”