Engineers Ireland president calls for increased investment for biomedical industry

Galwayman, Dr John O’Dea, president of Engineers Ireland, has called on the Government to prioritise investment in regenerative medicine manufacturing technology for the next generation of job creation.

Speaking at the Engineers Ireland annual conference in Sligo, Dr O’Dea said Ireland was one of five recognised centres of medtech excellence globally, an industry which was entering a new era of regenerative medicine.

Following the recent Irish Medicines Board approval of the cell manufacturing facility at NUI Galway, which boasts one of only six regenerative medicine institutes in Europe, it is approved to manufacture stem cell therapies for human use. This resource provides the foundation for strong engineering and manufacturing employment opportunities in this emerging area.

The conference was opened by Dr John O’Dea, a Galway native and CEO and founder of Crospon, one of Ireland’s leading indigenous medical-device companies.

Speaking about the future of the biomedical industry in Ireland, he said: “We need to skill up now to embrace the opportunities, and leverage the worldwide recognition we enjoy for high-quality medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturing. The medical device industry is vital to Ireland’s economic growth and future. It is a heavily manufacturing-focused industry which currently employs in the region of 25,000 people and is close to export levels of €8 billion.

“A recent study by Johnson and Johnson suggests the regenerative medicine market will exceed $10 billion by 2020, and Ireland has an opportunity to lead the progress in this field. Therefore we must ensure strategic focus is awarded to ensuring the right skills and facilities exist in order to be at the forefront of this game-changing advancement in medicine and medical technology.”

The event also featured contributions from Dr James Browne, president of NUI Galway; Prof Timothy O’Brien from NUI Galway, and John Killeen, chairman of the Marine Institute.

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