Dublin’s new life sciences hotbed opens in Cherrywood

8 Dec 2022

From left: Pioneer Group GM Niamh Madden; Dara Calleary, TD; Dr Ayokunmi Ajetunmobi, director of venture development at Pioneer Group; and Sinead Murray from Theia eye care project. Image: Julien Behal Photography

The Campus in Cherrywood has already attracted an Irish and an international start-up to set up shop in its life sciences ecosystem.

Minister Dara Calleary, TD, was in south Dublin today to officially open The Campus, an incubation and acceleration facility aspiring to be Ireland’s ‘Silicon Docks for life sciences’.

The 30,000 sq ft facility in Cherrywood was first announced last year by developers Spear Street Capital, with Pioneer Group on board to operate it.

The Campus comprises specialised lab, office and collaboration spaces built for early-stage life sciences businesses to grow alongside established sci-tech players. APC, Genuity Science, Dell, Zoetis, Accenture and Elavon already have a presence, and new emerging life sciences enterprises are encouraged to take up bench space in this new ecosystem.

Already doing so is VLE Therapeutics, a spin-out of APC backed by Enterprise Ireland. Established in 2020 to act as a ‘medicine accelerator’, VLE is focuses on the manufacture of vaccines and advanced therapeutics including cell and gene therapies.

Australian commercial-stage biotech company Inventia has also established a base on The Campus. Backed by IDA Ireland and with VC funding amounting to more than €25m, Inventia uses 3D bioprinting in biomedical research and drug discovery.

Built to accommodate all types of life sciences businesses, The Campus has a mix of shared and private lab space, including a ‘co-lab’ where early-stage businesses can rent bench space. In all, the office space can accommodate up to 20 life sciences companies.

This facility is just one part of the life sciences cluster in Cherrywood being developed by Spear Street Capital.

Innovation anchor

“The life sciences sector in Ireland has been nothing short of transformative for our economy,” said Calleary. “As a small, advanced economy, we are uniquely exposed to global changes and shifts. Our best protection is to continue developing our little island as a world-class destination to invest and grow business.”

Dr Ayokunmi Ajetunmobi, director of venture development at Pioneer Group, cited Ireland’s global reputation as a “centre of excellence for pioneering innovation, biopharmaceutical developments, pharmaceutical manufacture and supply”, and said that Cherrywood will be a “key location” for Pioneer Group.

“Our vision is to grow and fully develop this strategically important site and amplify the existing strong fundamentals of a highly educated talent pool, groundbreaking research and rapid growth,” he said.

Spear Street Capital president Rajiv Patel said that The Campus will be an “innovation anchor” that will benefit organisations across the life sciences spectrum, from start-ups and academic institutions to large corporates. “Today’s announcement shows how The Campus at Cherrywood will be at the heart of the vibrant life sciences sector that continues to grow across Ireland,” he said.

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Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.