Ireland's life sciences sector

Ireland’s Industrial Development Agency (www.idaireland.com), a government organization that helps secure new investment from overseas, notes that foreign investment in Ireland’s pharmaceutical sector began more than 40 years ago, with Bristol-Myers Squibb being the first to locate in the country in 1964.

IDA’s Web site says, “The pharmaceutical sector makes an enormous contribution to the generation of wealth in the Irish economy and has experienced significant growth in recent years as evidenced by the following statistics:

• €29.7 billion of exports (40 percent of total manufacturing exports)

• Currently 13 of the top 15 companies in the world have substantial operations in Ireland

• 12 out of 25 of the world’s top-selling drugs are produced in Ireland, including Lipitor and Zocor. Products are manufactured for global markets.

In late April, Enterprise Ireland noted that the minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment, Micheál Martin, had announced the establishment of Fountain Healthcare Partners, a Dublin-based life science venture capital fund established under the Enterprise Ireland Seed and Venture Capital Scheme 2007-2012. The Fund will invest from €0.5 to €7 million per company, with an emphasis on the specialty pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and diagnostics sectors

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