About Us

BioPharmaChem Ireland is the leading representative body for the Biopharma, Pharma and Chemical manufacturing sectors in Ireland. Our membership is composed of the leading global corporations and indigenous Irish companies ranging from Research and Development, Global Business Service Centres, High Value Manufacturing, Headquarters and IP Management and Supply Chain Management. 'Molecules Make a Difference' is a strategy document, for the BioPharmachemical Industry in Ireland and was launched in New York City at DCAT Week March 2016 - you can view it here:


With the support of industry, Ireland will position itself as a recognised centre of excellence for innovation and development in pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and chemical supply, thereby becoming the location of choice for the launch of new products.

About the Sector


  • In 2014 the Irish pharmaceutical and chemical sector exported products to the value of 58b.
  • Ireland is the largest net exporter of Pharmaceuticals in the World.
  • Nine of the top 10 global companies are based in Ireland.
  • Very stable sector and are global leaders in Quality.
  • Ireland ranks 9th in the world for the level of high-tech exports as a percentage of manufacturing exports.

Education and skills

  • 25,300 people are employed in the Irish pharmachem sector, approx. 50% of which are third-level graduates.
  • 25% of all PhD researchers in Irish industry are employed in the sector.
  • Ireland’s educational systems ranks 9th in the world for higher education achievement.
  • Ireland ranks 4th globally for the availability of skilled labour and openness to new ideas. 
  • Ireland’s labour market flexibility is ranked 9th in the world.

Not only does the pharmaceutical sector contribute to the Irish economy, it also contributes to the nation’s health and well being by improving quality of life and combating illness.


  • 5 out of the top 12 selling medicines manufactured in Ireland
  • In 1925 the life expectancy in Ireland was 57, today it is 79 and the number of deaths from heart disease and stroke has been halved as a result of medicines produced in Ireland

Today people in Ireland live longer, healthier and more active lives, in part, due to medical progress and pharmaceutical research and development.

Career Opportunities

There are good reasons to consider careers in Ireland’s pharmaceutical sector. In addition to a wide diversity of career opportunities, statistics from the CSO show that workers in the sector earn on average almost 30% more than the national average.

The industry provides a stable and secure career environment for graduates  to gain multinational experience right on their own doorstep and to participate in the global effort to improve and prolong people’s lives.

Ireland’s success in attracting biotechnology companies here adds another exciting dimension to the careers on offer. Biotechnology uses biological systems or cells to make or modify products that can be used as medicines, and will generate many more medicines in the future, many of which will be personalised for individual use. As the industry here moves towards being increasingly knowledge-led in all its activities, the prospects for employees and the economy are considerable and

The following list broad categories of activities in the industry outline some of the jobs and career opportunities currently available: 


This is the starting point for a new medicine. Because many diseases still cannot yet be cured or because existing treatment may cause unwanted side effects, new medicines that work in different ways are constantly being sought.

  • Chemists, biologists, pharmacologists IT specialists and a variety of other science disciplines work in teams to try to identify chemical compounds which might eventually become a medicine.


Once a chemical compound has been found which could possibly work to treat the target disease, a variety of tests must be carried out to ensure that the compound can be made on a viable scale, formulated into a medicine and given to patients without causing them harm. This work takes several years and involves a variety of different people, mainly scientists and

  • Analytical Chemists,
  • Development Chemists, Process Chemists,
  • Pharmacists, Biologists, Validation Scientists,
  • Microbiologists, Product Development Scientists,
  • Process Development Scientists.


To ensure the medicine works safely and effectively, it is first tested on animals before moving on to ‘Phase One’ trials on human beings. At this stage doctors and scientists first determine the correct dose to give to human volunteers and then carry out controlled trialsin patients suffering from the disease.

  • Clinical Research
  • Specialist/Associates, Clinical Monitor, Clinical
  • Trials Specialist, Compliance Specialist, Laboratory
  • Technician, Documentation and Compliance
  • Scientist, Regulatory Affairs Officer/Manager,
  • Quality Assurance Specialist, Validation Specialist,
  • Quality and Compliance Specialist, Medical Scientist,
  • Formulation Scientist, Doctor, Nurse.


Manufacturing the medicine involves making the chemical compound and then mixing it with other substances to make a tablet, cream or aerosol that enable patients to take it.

Safety and quality assurance is paramount, demanding constant vigilance and careful controls at every step.

Scientists, engineers, IT specialists and many others are involved in both.


  • Process Development
  • Chemist, Quality Control Analysts/Supervisor,
  • Altana


Engineers do everything from designing and commissioning new machinery (and the buildings to house them) to operating and maintaining existing


  • Process and Project Engineer,
  • Quality Assurance Systems Co-ordinator,
  • Chemical Engineer, Production Engineer,
  • Mechanical Engineer,
  • Physics
  • Laboratory Technician,
  • Validation Officer, Production Operator, Validation Engineer


Patenting medicines and preventing copying is vital to financing research and ensuring such investment is made in the future. The research-based industry relies heavily on patent protection to sustain the development of new effective medicines. Patenting is carried out by specialists working within the industry, bringing together law and science disciplines.


  • Copyright and Intellectual Property Specialist, Lawyer, Pharmacist


Scientists in regulatory affairs draw together information on tests that have been carried out on the drug substance and use this information to apply for permission to carry out clinical trials and to market the medicine.


  • Regulatory Affairs Specialist/Manager, Quality and Regulatory Affairs Engineer,
  • Research Scientist, Process Development Chemist,
  • Formulation Scientist, Pharmacist


Pharmacists are crucial in every stage of drug into a suitable form for use, check the medicines’ stability, provide supplies for clinical trails and work with people from secondary manufacturing plants to ensure that formulation can be scaled up for volume production, and is appropriately packaged.


  • Quality Control Chemist,
  • Pharmacist, Regulatory Affairs Specialist


Researching and developing new medicines would not be unsustainable if doctors were not aware of new medicines and what they can do for patients, both by providing new solutions and improving existing ones. Medical sales representatives visit hospitals and GPs’ surgeries to inform doctors about the benefits of the new medicines their companies produce.


  • Marketing Manager,
  • Medical Sales Representatives/Specialists,
  • Hospital Sales Representative/Specialist,
  • Communications Specialists


The swift exchange and recording of information is critical throughout the development and manufacturing process, so IT has an increasingly critical role to play in every facet of medicine. The development of more customised medicines in the future that rely on patient information will increasingly rely on the work of IT professionals.


  • Process/Systems Analyst,
  • Development Engineer, Validation engineer,
  • Application Support specialists, Project Managers,
  • Analyst Programmers


With the pharmaceutical industry’s investments and income running into the billions, effective accounting

and finance management is an exciting area. Ireland has seen a number of pharmaceutical companies add

their European financial operations to their activities here, creating opportunities at every level from

controls to banking.


HR supports the people behind the scientific work, helping to make the most of their talent and training.

In HR, you will find yourself recruiting for many different roles and developing the skills of a huge

range of people.


  • HR Manager, HR generals, Recruitment consultants, Trainers

Advice for Graduate

50% of employees in the industry are highly-trained graduates. Graduates often find it hard to enter the workplace straight after finishing their course, even those with doctorates. You will see many jobs advertised with experience required, which at this stage you do not have. However keep looking, there are plenty of jobs for graduates.

It is always worthwhile to go on and study for postgraduates degrees, masters and doctorates (PhD.), however, you will notice that initially, getting a job will still be tough. Once into the industry, however, people with post graduate qualifications tend to move up through the organisation much faster.

The key is to get 2-3 years under your belt once you find a position. Once you get to this level you will notice a wide range of opportunities opening up for you. Grind it out for the first few years, it will be worth it!!

Website: Email:
Website Link   
LinkedIn  Twitter   
  • Graduate Employers Video Profiled
  • Universities/Colleges Video Profiled
  • Professional Bodies Video Profiled