Express Pharma

Life sciences companies revisiting their EU strategies want to understand the Irish proposition better

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Tanaz Buhariwalla, India Director, IDA Ireland informs that India and Ireland’s economic and trade ties are growing year on year and highlights that bilateral trade between India and Ireland stood at €1.116 billion from January-December 2019, the highest recorded turnover between any two countries. She also talks about why Ireland is the next ‘speak-to country’ for India, post-Brexit for companies focussed on growing their European market, in an interview with Lakshmipriya Nair

What are the opportunities that have opened up for India-Ireland collaborations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? 

It is said that every adversity brings with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit and while COVID-19 has thrown a cloud over the global economy, we have seen numerous opportunities open up between India and Ireland during this time. Most of these are in the life sciences and technology sectors.  With the disruption to their supply chain affecting Indian companies, the importance of having a presence in Europe to ensure the security of supply in the future is now in focus. We are in discussion with a number of them who are evaluating the option of setting up a presence in Ireland. This also includes Indian companies offering digital products and aiding digital transformation projects for clients in the West.

In a post-Brexit world, Ireland remains the only English-speaking country in the EU, with a supportive and pro-business government. The Irish government’s support to individuals and businesses in the form of unemployment payment to those who had lost jobs, wage subsidies for employers and low-interest credits for micro-businesses were also availed by Indian companies, professionals and students in Ireland.

The initiative of the Irish government in launching a coordinated RD&I funding opened up opportunities for companies from India and other countries looking to collaborate for these R&D projects with large-scale process and technology optimisation for commercialisation. These included improving the speed of COVID-19 testing; developing rapid tests for COVID-19 antibodies; developing novel disinfection approach or novel antimicrobial wipes; collaborating for COVID-19 vaccine technology and more.

Irish companies from sectors such as life sciences, medtech, diary, engineering especially hi-tech hardware, SAAS companies and fintech and edtech companies are also looking at entering and servicing the Indian market. There are over 110 Irish companies in India, including the Kerry Group, Taoglas, ICON, and Glanbia.  Some Irish companies like Novaerus (a high-end air purification company) are getting a lot of traction due to COVID-19.