Like many in the sector, Novartis collaborates with a wide range of industry stakeholders as Ms Ledergerber explains “We have strong working relationships in particular with our partners in the IDA, IBEC, BioPharmaChem Ireland and Cork Chamber. At a local level here in Ringas- kiddy, all of the life sciences companies work together to support one another, I like to call it the ‘Silicon Valley of Pharma’. We share best practice and a common aim to ensure that the life sciences sector in Cork and in Ireland continues to be a vibrant industry and a unique calling card for the country. This spirit of collaboration is a key strength for Ireland.”
However, she strikes a note of caution with the need for regional infrastructure to keep pace with the sector. “Because we are part of a global network you are always competing, and local infrastructure is a prerequisite of the approval process. If we are investing year on year in the value of the Novartis site in Ringaskiddy, we need an infrastructure that matches it; in other words, an infrastructure that is as modern and competitive as the manufacturing sites in Ringakiddy. And we need to do this while keeping in mind our local communities.”
She adds that the recent addition of Swissair flights to the services at Cork airport were a welcome development for the Swiss-headquartered organisation.
Equally there is the personal impact, with global life science companies all seeking to attract talent from across the world. Challenges such as transport issues, access to rental accommodation etc. could impact on our ability to attract this talent to Cork.
Being part of the community is something right at the heart of Novartis. One of the biggest elements of community engagement is the annual Community Partnership Day which sees Novartis employees in Ireland and across the globe nominate community projects and engage in volunteering to make these projects a reality.
In 2017 more than 24,400 Novartis associates took part on May 11th with the teams at Novartis Ringaskiddy supporting six local community projects. Novartis also hosts an annual 5K Road Race and this year celebrates its 20th anniversary on August 2nd 2017. A hugely popular event, the race under B. H. A. A. rules will see competitors across the county and beyond come to Ringaskiddy to compete.
Picture: Conor Byrd
Novartis colleagues Sonya Byrne, Thomas O’Connor and Kevin Corrigan at Serendipity Garden allotment/Cope Foundation Ballincollig during Novartis Community Day 2017. Picture: Darragh Kane