Ireland’s in the (up/down) stream: NIBRT talks bioproduction

The latest edition of the BioProcess Insider Expression Platform has NIBRT’s Killian O’Driscoll speaking on Ireland’s robust biomanufacturing environment, training programs, and vendor-led technologies.

Ireland has long established itself as a drug manufacturing hub and is home to commercial production sites run by Big Pharma firms including Pfizer, J&J, Eli Lilly, and AstraZeneca, as well as numerous third-party manufacturing organizations and bioprocess vendor firms.

The country has evolved to mirror industry’s shift from small molecule to large molecule, and now to advanced therapies – with the likes of Takeda and MeiraGTx opening cell and gene therapy facilities there over the past six months.

Image c/o Google

The business environment has been spurred by low corporate tax rates, but also a highly skilled workforce, which has been supported by the government-funded National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT). The Dublin institution has been described as a ‘flight simulator for biomanufacturing,’ and has trained over 4,000 people a year in bioproduction processes since it opened in 2011.

NIBRT has also branched out, driving and supporting an international alliance of training and education organizations including The Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing (JIB) in Pennsylvania, Canada’s Alliance for Skills and Training in Lifesciences, and Korean-NIBRT (K-NIBRT) in Incheon, South Korea.

At Biotech Week Boston in September, BioProcess Insider caught up with Killian O’Driscoll, director of Projects at NIBRT, who spoke to us in depth about Ireland’s pharma heritage, NIBRT’s international presence, and its relationship with vendors.

“Vendors, technology providers are a key part of the ecosystem. They drive a lot of the innovation in manufacturing. What we really want at a NIBRT is for it to be a showcase of the cutting and latest technologies. Almost a sandbox where new technologies can be evaluated,” he said.

NIBRT incorporates these different vendor technologies into its training program. “A key part of our philosophy is that we are vendor neutral – we say to people: ‘we teach you how to drive, but we’re agnostic about what car you choose to purchase.’ But a strong relationship with vendors is a key part to be successful in this industry.”

The full podcast can be found at the usual channels (Spotify, Apple, etc) or can be listened to below: