Julie Sinnamon CEO, Enterprise Ireland (third from left) visits Patsy Carney (first from left) at EirGen’s facility in Waterford
Building a hugely successful pharma company from start-up status 10 years ago, to its recent sale worth $135m, Patsy Carney and the team at EirGen have been driving expansion and investment for the firm since its inception.
In March 2005 EirGen Pharma was founded by Tom Brennan and Patsy Carney. Since then, the entrepreneurial pair have grown the company, constantly investing and expanding operations at its Waterford-base, while developing new innovations in the research and development of chemotherapy drugs. EirGen employs 76 people and has contracts in 45 countries.
Ten years on and the company has been sold to US-based Opko for $135m (€120m). Opko’s CEO, Philip Frost said the main reason they were interested in EirGen Pharma was because it is one of the leading developers and suppliers of high potency niche pharmaceutical products in the world.
“EirGen also offers the significant benefit of potentially being able to manufacture OPKO’s current and future products in our own facilities, which we expect will result in even higher gross margins. The superb management, research and development, manufacturing and product distribution teams, along with state of the art facilities, together, will create an important, tax efficient base of operations for OPKO,” Frost said.
To date, EirGen and its partners have filed 10 product applications with the FDA and five each in Europe and Japan. EirGen has a strong research and development portfolio of over 20 niche, high barrier to entry drugs and, with access to additional capital that OPKO will provide, together with the benefits of Irish government programmes to encourage research and development in Ireland, EirGen will rapidly expand its drug portfolio.
INVESTMENT AND OPPORTUNITIES
Only last year, EirGen created 40 new jobs, following a €4m investment.
Speaking at the announcement, Carney said: “Since EirGen’s inception, we have been committed to high-tech job creation for the South East.”
Co-founder and chief technical officer, Tom Brennan, added: “Official figures show that the life sciences sector is the fastest growing area of Ireland’s export industry. We hope that our continuing efforts will inspire other high-end technology companies to invest – and re-invest – in the region, providing further opportunities for employment growth while driving forward efforts to secure Ireland’s future as the location-of-choice for world-leading, research and manufacturing industries.”
According Julie Sinnamon CEO, Enterprise Ireland said: “EirGen Pharma is a stand out example of an ambitious; innovation-led Irish company that is achieving strong export-led growth. Enterprise Ireland is proud to have supported them since their establishment in 2005 and looks forward to continuing this support as they invest, create jobs and win new business contracts all over the world.”