The fact that biopharma is booming in Ireland is well established. With $8 billion invested in the sector in the past decade we now have what economists and business people call a biopharma 'cluster'.
Clustering is when companies from the same industry locate themselves in close proximity. It may seem like an odd behaviour but is very commonly seen in finance (IFSC), technology (Dublin's creative quarter), MedTech (Galway) and biopharma (Dublin 15).
Bristol-Myers Squibb is one such company which helps make this a significant biopharma cluster. Being a top global player they often find themselves working in close proximity to competitors and key industry supports such as NIBRT out in UCD. This means recruitment is very competitive but also means that there are diverse opportunities out there for those with transferrable skills and the right profile.
BMS has a long relationship with Ireland going back over 50 years. This track record must have helped with the decision to locate their first biologics plant outside the US in Cruiserath. The $1 billion investment solidifies BMS's relationship and belief in Ireland. It also flags how biologics, the new kid on the block, is where biopharma is focussing a lot of attention and investment.
It might be surprising but for some teams there is a definite start-up feel as they build their labs from the ground up and prep for when manufacturing begins proper. They are not alone though. They are collaborating with colleagues in BMS's biologics manufacturing facility in Devens, Massachusetts and learning from their experience.
Biologics offers a hugely interesting and complex new area in biopharma. It's incredibly complex, relies on delivery by injection to the patient, and requires very expensive manufacturing facilities. So not the easiest of propositions, but one where biopharma is increasingly looking for new ideas and treatments for patients.
When fully operational in 2018 the new plant at Cruiserath will employ between 350 and 400 scientists, engineers, bioprocess operators, quality specialists and other professionals.
What's great for those seeking entry into this exciting world is that when building their teams BMS will be looking at people from other industries whose skills and knowledge can transfer across. These industries include fast-moving consumer goods, medical devices, clean rooms and agriculture. This is partly due to the competitive nature of biopharma recruitment but also to BMS's focus on the person's profile.
Stephen Rose our associate director of talent acquisition explains “Many employees have relevant degree's and experience but we like to strike a balance and also up skill people where possible,” he says. “The profile of an employee is as important as their qualifications. We want people who demonstrate the kind of behaviours we value as an organisation: passion, speed, accountability and innovation.”
All this means that while BMS will be recruiting from within biopharma for senior roles, there are diverse opportunities available for those with the right profiles to leap across into biologics.
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