Merck to market: Life science firms pitch to Pharma giant

Merck to market: Life science firms pitch to Pharma giant (Irish Times)

IRELAND’S INDIGENOUS life sciences industry was showcased at an event in Dublin yesterday that saw 31 entrepreneurs pitch for funding from one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies.

Senior executives from Merck Sharpe Dohme (MSD) jetted into the capital for one-on-one meetings with Irish businesses seeking equity and expertise to help bring their products to market.

“This is somewhat unique in that they’re coming to meet the people who are in Ireland. Normally you go to the conference to meet them. And it’s normally hard enough to get meetings with the likes of Merck,” he said.

Apsona develops drugs that specialise in the human immune system. The process of bringing drugs through clinical trials and then to the market is very capital intensive. “What you need are the deep pockets of people like Merck…They also bring expertise and knowhow.”

Pitching yesterday was Pat O’Flynn, chief executive of Solvotrin Therapeutics, a Trinity spin-out that focuses on improving and reprotecting existing, well-established therapies such as aspirin.

Solvotrin is looking for investment from a joint venture partner. Mr O’Flynn envisions that this would enable the company to carry out all of their activities in Ireland, from innovation and manufacturing through to distribution. “We believe Ireland is very well placed to do this now,” he said.

John O’Dea, from Janisys, which is developing a transdermal drug delivery device, described the event as a “fabulous initiative” because large pharmaceutical companies can be “impenetrable organisations”.

Article by Caroline Madden (Irish Times)