David O'Grady, Sanofi
David O’Grady, development scientist, Sanofi. Image: Connor McKenna

Working on the medicines of the future at Sanofi

4 May 2017

As Sanofi expands its workforce and research remit, we find out why Ireland is such a great place for biopharma business.

The biopharma sector is booming in Ireland, with significant waves of investment and employment anticipated over the coming decade. Pharma giant Sanofi has a big slice of both in Ireland’s south-east.

Less than a year ago, Sanofi announced 40 new jobs for its Waterford plant. Now, the pharma company is hiring again.

At NIBRT’s recent Careers in Biopharma event, we spoke to David O’Grady, development scientist at Sanofi, who told us that the company has a raft of vacancies coming up in manufacturing and analytics.

Biopharma can be an exciting area to work in. At the cutting edge of pharmaceutical development, it’s easy to see the real-life impact of your daily grind. But that daily grind can vary, depending on the company you’re working in.

“[Sanofi is] big enough that we can research new, emerging technologies, such as cell and gene therapies. As the sciences, uncover these new possible indications, we’ve got an opportunity to try and say, ‘How do we turn this into medicines of the future?’,” said O’Grady.

Sanofi is firmly placed within an ecosystem of biopharma and medtech companies that call Ireland home. Pharma hubs dotted around the country – in Galway, Cork and other locations – are replete with global giants working to develop healthcare solutions.

‘Ireland is small in the overall scheme of events, but there’s strength in that’

But what makes Ireland such an attractive proposition for these international biopharma organisations? According to O’Grady, size matters: “Ireland is small in the overall scheme of events, but there’s strength in that.”

There is, he says, a great network within Ireland, and a capability to do great research that’s almost at odds with our relatively small geographical area.

“We have got good talent – we always had. It continues to be strong. We’ve got a good university and educational system,” said O’Grady.

“I talk to colleagues [outside] of Ireland and they’re jealous. They’re jealous of what we’ve got, so we’ve got to keep using that. We’ve got to trade on that. We’ve got to keep that development and these new medicines coming through the island of Ireland.”

Kirsty Tobin
By Kirsty Tobin

Kirsty Tobin served as careers editor of Silicon Republic from 2015 up to August 2017. When she was younger, she had a dream where she started and won a fight with a T-Rex, so she’s pretty sure she kicked butt at this, too. Passions include eating all the cake, watching more TV than is healthy and sassy comebacks.

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