Biogen’s Michael O’Connell named as new IPHA President
Takeda’s Shane Ryan confirmed as Vice-President as industry focuses on a better environment for access, competitiveness and innovation
Michael O’Connell, Country Director for Biogen, has been named President of the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA), the representative body for the research-based biopharmaceutical industry.
Takeda’s Shane Ryan becomes Vice-President. Mr O’Connell takes over the role vacated by Pfizer’s Paul Reid after his two-year term. IPHA’s Board confirmed the appointments which take effect immediately.
The industry believes it can have a shaping role on the health and enterprise landscape in Ireland through the application of science in patients’ lives and the economic upside of jobs, investments and exports linked to innovation in medicines.
Mr O’Connell pledged to focus his presidency on achieving a better environment for access, competitiveness and innovation.
“This is an exciting time for the biopharmaceutical industry, in Ireland and globally. The pandemic has demonstrated the dividend of science, with protection through vaccines helping social and economic life to resume. In areas like access, competitiveness and innovation, we have new opportunities for progress. It is our role at IPHA to ensure that, by working with others, the environment is right to maximise the return on these opportunities for our society and the economy.
“In access, a better funding environment and a new Framework Agreement for the Supply and Pricing of Medicines is improving Ireland’s capacity to deliver the latest treatments to patients. Next year, IPHA member companies expect to launch 30 new medicines, potentially treating more than 7,000 patients. The estimated cost of these medicines next year is €35 million. We will shortly bring forward proposals for a fitter and faster reimbursement process which, alongside sustained funding for new medicines, should narrow the gap between the completion of health technology assessments and the availability of new medicines for patients.
“Our industry, across commercial and manufacturing operations, is distributed regionally, generating employment, tax revenues and exports. Our ability to keep the production, research and commercial investments we have, and to attract new ones in biologics and next-generation therapies, will depend on how well we can compete in a volatile global trading environment. We must maintain diverse global supply chains and avoid blunt-instrument policies like ‘near-shoring’ or ‘reshoring’ that would jeopardise supply chain resilience. We must ensure the entire medicines supply chain is insulated from energy rationing. We must keep working on the development of new training pathways for the skills needed in an ever-changing industry and take full advantage of developments like artificial intelligence, the internet of things, genomics and cell therapy.
“In Europe, as the European Commission works on a legislative proposal that will shape the operating environment for medicines innovation, it is vital that intellectual property rights be protected and strengthened. In parallel, we should take steps to improve equity of access to new medicines for all Europe’s citizens. Ireland should strongly champion innovation as the basis for new jobs, investments, vaccines, treatments and cures. We have a jobs-rich industry in Ireland and a strong pipeline of new medicines for better clinical care. All that shows that the policy environment has worked for innovation. Now is not the time to damage that environment. Let us resolve to bolster it,” said Mr O’Connell.
Oliver O’Connor, Chief Executive of IPHA, welcomed the appointments.
“I am delighted to welcome Michael and Shane to their respective new roles. They bring experience and expertise at a critical time for the industry in Ireland and globally. I look forward to supporting their industry-wide agenda, drawing on our scale and reach across the regions to find answers to some of the challenges that face society,” said Mr O’Connor.
About Michael O’Connell
Michael has been Country Director at Biogen for the past eight years. He has worked in the biopharmaceutical industry for the past 31 years. He spent 23 years at Bristol Myer Squibb where he was appointed Country Manager in 2011. Before joining the industry, Michael qualified as a General Nurse from St Michael’s Hospital in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin. He qualified as a Psychiatric Nurse from St John of God Hospital, Stillorgan, Co Dublin. Michael has an MBA from University College Cork. He lives in Derinagree, near Millstreet, Co Cork.
IPHA represents the international originator biopharmaceutical industry in Ireland. We partner for better health through innovative medicines and technologies.