The Republic of Ireland has positioned itself as a home away from home for a number of biopharma companies, due to its favorable tax rate and its position as an entry point for the rest of Europe.
This position has resulted in nine of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies having operations in the country.
Ireland’s agency for attracting foreign investment, IDA Ireland, recently outlined why the country is becoming a hub for investment into cell and gene therapy development and manufacture.
Ireland already has a solid base in manufacturing, with the production of products accounting for 32% of GDP, equivalent to €140bn ($161bn) in exports in 2019. In terms of employment, 261,400 people are directly employed in manufacturing industries, representing 11.2% of the total workforce.
The Irish government provides funding to the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT), which in turn is able to provide training to 4,500 individuals annually – within and entering the industry.
As a result, those companies looking to establish biologic bases in the country can receive support from both IDA Ireland and NIBRT.
IDA Ireland outlined that Takeda has chosen Ireland to construct a commercial scale cell therapy site; Allergan will collaborate with NIBRT for the manufacture of gene therapies; and Avectas is working in the country to produce cell therapy products.
The country has also positioned itself as a hub for research by awarding funding of €11.5m specifically to the area of cell and gene therapy over the last decade.
Further tax support is provided with 25% R&D tax credits to companies engaged in R&D and training.
As of 2019, there were 291 clinical trial sites across Ireland, and seven clinical research facilities within a national clinical research network, HRB Clinical Research Coordination-Ireland.
One of the key challenges facing cell and gene therapies is the ability to transport the products within a secure supply chain, often requiring specialized temperature-controlled environment.
The report called to attention four logistics providers operating within the country: World Courier, DHL, McArdle Skeath, and Kuehne+Nagel.
A key part of the transport is the proximity to an airport, with transportation often being managed under the time constraints of the therapies and requiring an air freight service.