Mairead Looby, director of manufacturing science and technology at BMS. Image: Conor McCabe

Why BMS put €1bn into the promising future of biologics

24 Apr 2018

Biologics is emerging as a key trend to watch within the biopharma community. As Mairead Looby explains, BMS intends to get ahead of that trend and unlock its potential.

There isn’t really a person out there that wouldn’t appreciate being able to see the outline of the future clearly in a crystal ball, but that’s especially true of those in the biopharma sphere.

Future Human

Due to the industry being highly competitive with high stakes, it is of paramount importance that biopharma companies stay ahead of the curve at all times.

For Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), that has manifested in a staggering investment in the future of pharmaceutical development: biologics.

“It’s a very exciting time for BMS in Ireland at the moment,” Mairead Looby, director of manufacturing science and technology at BMS, explained during an interview at NIBRT’s annual BioPharma Ambition event.

Looby pointed to BMS’ recent construction of a €1bn state-of-the-art biologics facility at Cruiserath as a prime example.

“That facility will manufacture really life-saving medicines. A lot of the immuno-oncology that BMS makes will be made in that facility in the future.”

By investing such an amount in biologics, BMS is placing itself firmly at the forefront of a growing movement in the pharma community.

“A lot of the large organisations are really investing in more innovative technologies – or innovative medicines, I should say – and a lot of them are using biologics in nature,” Looby continued.

“As a result, we’re seeing larger organisations reacting to that trend.”

“As part of building that facility, we built a manufacturing science and technology department. We’ve a lot of scientists, a lot of engineers – a really skilled workforce.

“They’re very eager to make an impact on the industry and ultimately on delivering products to patients as well.”

Looby was quick to emphasise that people from a broad spectrum of backgrounds and education can find a rewarding career in biopharma. “You can enter in many different kinds of facets if you like – as an engineer, as a scientist, even as an accountant.

“We have finance departments, we have HR departments, so it’s really multifaceted … there’s a whole gamut of opportunity.”

For more, check out the interview in full with Mairead Looby at BioPharma Ambition above.

Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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