Accenture snaps up Cork life sciences player ESP

6 Mar 2019

From left: Liam O’Brien, managing director, ESP; Ben Salama, managing director of Industry X.0, Accenture; and Barry Heavey, life sciences practice lead, Accenture. Image: Accenture

It’s all about the digital reinvention of industry.

Consulting giant Accenture has revealed plans to acquire Cork-based life sciences company ESP for an undisclosed sum.

ESP will become part of Accenture Industry X.0, which helps clients master the digital reinvention of industry, strengthening Accenture’s capabilities to transform manufacturing for pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device clients globally.

‘The planned acquisition of ESP underscores our commitment to one of Ireland’s most important and growing industries: life sciences’

Founded in 2003, ESP will bring a team of 200 professionals with deep manufacturing, process and IT knowledge to work closely with Accenture’s life sciences group. It currently services 17 of the top 20 global pharmaceutical and biotech companies from offices in Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Turkey and the US.

“It will expand our capabilities to new regions and provide our team with new career opportunities in a truly global organisation,” said Liam O’Brien, managing director of ESP.

Reimagining the future of industry and sectors such as life sciences is a big objective for Accenture, as seen in February 2017 when it opened The Dock, its global innovation hub, which now employs more than 300 people in Dublin.

Cork company ESP has longstanding industry experience in planning and implementing manufacturing solutions, with niche expertise in manufacturing execution systems and serialisation.

“The planned acquisition of ESP underscores our commitment to one of Ireland’s most important and growing industries: life sciences,” said Accenture Ireland country managing director Alastair Blair.

“We continue to invest in Ireland to grow our talent and increase our capabilities to help our clients apply the very latest digital technologies and drive innovation, further strengthening the position of Ireland as a leader in this industry.”

A design for life sciences

ESP is the latest in a series of Irish acquisitions by the consulting giant. For example, in February 2018 Accenture completed its acquisition of Rothco, a creative agency with more than 170 employees.

Several other acquisitions have been made recently to expand Accenture Industry X.0 in Europe and North America, including embedded software company Pillar Technology (US), hardware engineering firm Mindtribe (US) and strategic design consultancy Designaffairs (Germany).

‘Digital technologies are fundamentally transforming the factory floor’

The ESP acquisition will complement others in life sciences that Accenture has made in recent years. This includes the acquisition of LabAnswer in 2017, now the Accenture Scientific Informatics Services business, which helps capture, manage, and analyse complex laboratory and scientific data.

“Digital technologies are fundamentally transforming the factory floor,” explained Accenture’s life sciences practice lead, Barry Heavey.

“With ESP’s manufacturing solutions and our Industry X.0 capabilities, we can help clients take advantage of engineering and product life-cycle management, advanced analytics and artificial intelligence for a flexible, efficient and cost-effective production process.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years