Pharma & biopharma

Now one of Europe’s major manufacturing hubs for global pharma, biopharma and medtech, Cork plays a leading role in Ireland’s vibrant life sciences market. Cork hosts over 30 investors in the area, including global pharma leaders like Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), Abbvie, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Merck, GE Healthcare, Novartis, MSD and GSK. Many of these investors now have significant biopharma operations in Cork with new facilities operating alongside their existing pharma operations. Cork is also home to a unique biopharma training facility, a collaborative industry led project which provides a hands-on environment to develop the practical skills needed to work in the sector.

A leader in medtech manufacturing

Cork’s fast-growing capability in medical devices and healthcare is also attracting an increasing number of leading investors.

Depuy Synthes, Stryker and Boston Scientific have developed large scale manufacturing solutions in Cork, expanding them to meet their growing needs. Depuy Synthes’ Cork facility was named by the World Economic Forum in 2018 as one of the nine most advanced factories in the world due to its use of Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Global giant Boston Scientific’s Cork facility manufactures a diverse portfolio of medical devices, used to diagnose and treat patients in areas like cardiology, urology and endoscopy. Stryker, which employs over 25,000 people worldwide, is now well established in Cork, developing surgical instruments and associated technology, as well as researching and developing biomaterials and making knee and hip joints. They recently opened a world leading centre of excellence in east Cork utilising orthopaedic related 3D laser printing technology.

Depuy Synthes’ Cork facility was named by the World Economic Forum in 2018 as one of the nine most advanced factories in the world due to its use of Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

Value added expertise

Due to the strength of the sector in the region, Cork has also developed multidisciplinary expertise in areas required to facilitate operational excellence. There is a strong cluster of engineering houses such as Jacobs, PM Group and DPS Engineering. There is also expertise in construction and automation with national and investor companies such as Sisk, Bam, Rockwell and Emerson. And companies within the sector are also locating their shared services facilities in Cork in addition to their manufacturing and research operations. Healthcare leader McKeeson, one of the world’s top twenty largest organisations, has a multi-functional site in Cork, which includes an Enterprise Tech Hub and finance function.

“The one word I’d use to describe Cork is progressive, and that’s very important for business, that it can evolve and that the community and the appropriate agencies locally will support the moves you need to make to advance.”

Kryan Johnson, General Manager Janssen

Innovation lives here

Cork’s highly developed academic and research infrastructure has been a key asset in attracting major companies as well as supporting their expansion. Both of Cork’s third level institutions, UCC and CIT are highly regarded by industry and they underpin the success of the sector in the region producing more than 500 graduates annually in life sciences related subjects.

Many life sciences companies have utilised Cork’s collaborative ethos and reputation for cutting-edge research. The world’s second largest pharmaceutical company, Merck Sharpe Dohme (MSD), hosts a biopharma centre of excellence in west Cork, while GE Healthcare is creating a specialised biopharmaceutical manufacturing campus in Ringaskiddy, 15 kilometres west of Cork city. AventaMed, a Cork-based start-up founded in 2013, is a spin-out from CIT’s ‘MEDIC’ research centre, founded on technology developed from four years of product development.

Research Centres in Cork include:

Specialising in the design and discovery of medical devices, the Centre’s key objective is to stimulate innovation, ideas and business competitiveness in the medical device arena. Its key research areas specialise in orthopaedics, biomaterials and SMART devices.
Established to improve the efficacy of health professional training, the Assert Centre provides world-class facilities to train healthcare professionals in simulated clinical settings.
Its role is to drive collaboration and fast-track commercialisation of healthcare innovations.
Focusing on process innovation and advanced manufacturing in the pharma industry.
APC supports world-class research into the impact of human gut bacteria on population health and the development of future foods and medicines.
CRVB’s emphasis is on translating ideas to the clinical cardiology arena in areas of novel diagnostics and therapeutics in the field of stem cells, gene delivery & tissue engineering.
Interdisciplinary teams conduct research at the chemistry-biology interface, focused on pharmaceutical synthesis, separation and detection / characterization.