Pharma Industry Awards 2016


Introducing Pharma Leader 2016: Barry O'Leary

Published: 10/10/2016

While shortlisted candidates across 19 categories will have to wait until the night of the Pharma Industry Awards to be held at the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin, on Thursday, October 13th 2016 to find out if they are successful, one winner has already been named.

Barry O’Leary, former CEO, IDABarry O'Leary

Barry O’Leary, former CEO, IDA will receive the Pharma Leader 2016, sponsored by Accreate, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the growth of the sector in Ireland.

Barry O’ Leary worked in the IDA for over 30 years and was appointed CEO in January 2008. He was divisional manager of IDA’s life sciences and ICT business units and spent 15 years in Germany, with a stint as director of Europe.

On his return to Ireland in 2002, he was appointed divisional manager, pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals and a member of IDA’s executive committee. His responsibilities were increased in 2004 to include life sciences and ICT.

Deeply involved in changing the profile and raising the value of Ireland’s inward investments over his seven-year tenure as CEO, he was primarily responsible for the establishment of Ireland as the leading global location outside the US for biopharmaceuticals.

O’Leary implemented strategic change and built new strengths in R&D, medical technologies, ICT and other areas. He led IDA teams in winning significant investments from a number of key clients including Lilly BioPharma; Pfizer; Centocor; Altana; and Merck.

While delighted to receive the award, he sees it as recognition of the achievements of the IDA team working in the pharmaceutical sector. “I am incredibly proud to have been leader of that team,” he said. “We led a global marketing programme across the world, and I met the CEOs of the big companies a dozen times a year. When I became CEO, I maintained those strong links.”

“There has been a lot of concern over the last ten years about patent cliffs but we won massive new investment into new forms of drugs, particularly biopharmaceutical,” he said. “Over the last five years there has been €7 billion to €8 billion investment in this area.”

Having taken over as CEO at the start of the global economic collapse, O’Leary turned difficulty into opportunity in 2010 by developing a new strategy Horizon 2020. “Thankfully, since then FDI has continued to grow to an all-time high,” he said. “We clearly identified the business for which Ireland could compete from a global perspective, and focused on the transformation of the businesses already in Ireland.”

Life sciences incorporating pharmaceuticals and medical devices, were among four pillars pinpointed by IDA with a push for entering new markets such as China and India as well as targeting energetic young companies.

“We got €60 million from the government to invest in NIBRT, the National Institute of Bioprocessing Research and Training at UCD. That was a critical part of Ireland’s offering and has paid back many times what it got with Ireland winning €7 billion of investment in pharmaceuticals,” said O’Leary.

“Ireland has won a number of new investments from companies coming to Ireland for the first time such as Amgen; Biomarin; Regeneron; Alexion; and Jazz as well as expansion of existing clients like Allergan; Johnson & Johnson; Merck; Lilly; BMS and Pfizer.”

His hope for the sector is that, “Ireland will continue to be the leading location for biopharmaceuticals, recognising new technology platforms early on. A new skills report has forecast that 8,400 new jobs will be created in the biopharmaceutical industry between now and 2020.”

To book a table at the Pharma Industry Awards 2016, click here.

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