Global biopharmaceutical company BioMarin sought a unique way to celebrate 10 years in Ireland by recognising the deep connection to the communities in which it operates, especially rare disease populations.
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD officially unveiled The Giving Tree – a specially-commissioned sculpture by Cork-based artist, Rachel Doolin, which celebrates BioMarin’s roots in Ireland. The sculpture consists of 1,200 individual bronze disks that when connected together create a structure with great strength and impact. For each disk, a native tree is being planted across Ireland, symbolising the company’s commitment to the environment and aspiration to create a better future for rare disease patients.
At an event that brought together members of BioMarin’s Global Executive team including Executive VP, Greg Guyer, employees, members of the medical and life science communities, public representatives and patient representative groups.
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath, TD said, “we are celebrating the successful partnership between BioMarin and Ireland. Over the last 10 years BioMarin’s presence has grown, making Ireland the company’s most significant operation outside of the US. Companies like BioMarin are very important to our economic success, but it extends beyond that to its connection to rare disease communities, to its employees and to the wider communities in Cork and in Dublin. This story of connection is reflected in The Giving Tree sculpture.”
“When BioMarin’s first site in Ireland opened in 2012, the company employed just 12 people. BioMarin now employs over 500 people across two sites: Shanbally, Cork – the company’s only manufacturing site outside of the US, and Earlsfort Terrace in Dublin – BioMarin’s EMEA headquarters . BioMarin is invested in Ireland, growing its roots from small beginnings to a new headquarters in Dublin the development of a €38m state-of-the-art expansion to the facility in Cork.”
Jim Lennertz, Senior Vice President and head of the company’s EMEA Commercial Operations headquartered in Dublin commented, “Ireland is a major location for BioMarin and we are very proud of what we have achieved in this country over the last 10 years. Patients across the globe are supported with therapies manufactured here in Ireland – this is an important era in the development of therapies for rare disease patients around the world, and our Irish Commercial and Manufacturing operations will play a key role in that success. The sculpture is a daily reminder of our connection back to the patients, to our environment and to each other.”
IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan said, “since opening its doors in 2012 in Cork, BioMarin has steadily grown its team and indeed the strategic functions of the Shanbally site, the company’s only manufacturing facility outside of the US. I wish to congratulate Michael O’Donnell all his team in Shanbally on this ten year anniversary and wish BioMarin continued success.”
Conor Delaney, VP of Operations, BioMarin International Limited and recently appointed Site Leader at Shanbally, Cork speaking about the development of the Irish facility said, “over the last 10 years, under the leadership of Michael O’Donnell, the site in Cork has grown and expanded, broadening our team and the therapies we can deliver. This year will see the establishment of a drug product-filling facility following a significant investment in the site which will position Shanbally as an end to end Commercial supply hub for BioMarin. The Giving Tree sculpture allows us to highlight the connection, partnerships and collaborative relationships that exist between BioMarin and the rare disease community. We are committed to do everything we can to provide pioneering treatments that improve the lives of those living with debilitating and life-threatening conditions. We have exceptional life sciences expertise at BioMarin, and an incredibly dedicated workforce that we are currently expanding as we actively recruit.”
BioMarin worked with the National Sculpture Factory to run a commission for a sculpture that would reflect the company’s presence in Ireland, patient connection and focus on sustainability. The timing of the commission had the additional impact of allowing BioMarin to support the arts industry in a time of great uncertainty due to the pandemic. Submissions were received from a number of artists across Ireland, and were reviewed by a panel of judges including leading patient advocate, Avril Daly, Vice-President of EURORDIS, former Chairperson of Rare Diseases Ireland, and CEO of Retina International. Irish artist, Rachel Doolin was unanimously selected by the panel.
The awarded artist, Rachel Doolin, recognised and reflected BioMarin’s commitment to the rare disease community in her installation. The dedication of the teams at Shanbally, and across all BioMarin sites became even more evident during the Covid-19 pandemic, adapting operations to ensure the needs of the patients who depend on BioMarin’s therapies continued to be met.
Source: IDA Ireland