€200m Government scheme to fund Covid-19 medicine production

4 Jun 2020

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Approved by the EU Commission, a new Covid-19 scheme for Irish manufacturers aims to accelerate the production of medicines and equipment.

Today (4 June), Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD, announced details of a new grant scheme aimed at supporting the production of medicines and medical equipment in Ireland used to treat Covid-19.

The scheme, which was approved by the European Commission, has been developed under a new temporary framework. This allows additional aid to be granted by EU member states to companies that are developing or producing medicinal products used to treat Covid-19.

The funding will be delivered through IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, and will allow for up to €200m in targeted State support to facilitate the research and development of products, and to enable the construction or upgrading of testing infrastructure.

What the scheme looks like

“The intention of this new scheme is to accelerate the production of vital medicines and potential vaccines, along with essential equipment used in the fight against Covid-19,” Humphreys said.

She added that the life sciences sector in Ireland directly employs more than 60,000 people around the country and that this new scheme “aims to capitalise” on Ireland’s reputation as a manufacturing base.

The scheme will also allow IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland to generate significant additional capital investment from firms in the life sciences sector, in a bid to help the national economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.

Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA Ireland, said: “This new State Aid framework sanctioned for Ireland by the EU and targeted at medicinal products for Covid-19 is a significant step forward. The life sciences sector will be central to creating an environment where human health is protected and economic life can begin to return to normal.”

Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon added that the agency “very much welcomes” today’s announcement.

The scheme will allow for grant aid for up to 50pc of eligible capital investment. The organisations involved plan to share details on the opening of the scheme in the coming days, but have said that applications for aid under the scheme must be approved no later than 31 December 2020.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic