Startups Ireland

How Irish pharma startups are leading the market in Europe


How Irish pharma startups are leading the market in Europe

Ireland leads the way for education and employment opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry. Most of the big names are already operating in Ireland, with an active startup scene attracting investment and talent to ensure long-term growth. From hospital products through to medical research and devices, the most forward-thinking pharmaceutical and medical technology companies in the world have found their home in the Emerald Isle.

Favourable conditions in Ireland continue to influence the proliferation, early success, and growth of pharmaceutical startups. While nine of the 10 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world are now established in Ireland, the number of emerging startups is an even bigger indicator of industry strength. Getting started in the pharmaceutical field can be demanding, with conditions in Ireland helping to foster new opportunities in employment, research, and product development.

Once home to around 30 companies, there are now closer to 300 pharmaceutical companies operating in Dublin and across Ireland. In order to thrive in this ever-changing industry, companies demand stability, along with stable and progressive economic and political systems. The attractive corporate tax environment of Ireland is the obvious draw card, with one of the lowest tax rates in the world at just 12.5 percent, and an attractive 25 percent tax credit on qualifying medical research and development.

Emerging pharma players in Ireland

There are numerous pharmaceutical startups in Ireland to watch out for, including EnteraSense, Genomics Medicine Ireland, Hooke Bio, and Kite Medical, just to name a few. The following three projects are good examples of the constantly evolving nature of the industry, with many startups emerging directly from education projects across Ireland’s leading universities and colleges and pharma jobs opening across Ireland.

Khonsu Therapeutics

Irish biotech firm Khonsu Therapeutics is one company to watch out for in the years ahead. This exciting startup is developing a new protein-based drug to target inflammation, which is the cause of numerous diseases from multiple sclerosis to Alzheimer’s. After researching a particular protein for over a decade, this startup became involved with biologics, a new type of drug derived from living cells instead of chemicals.

ATXA Therapeutics

ATXA Therapeutics is involved with the development of small-molecule drugs for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Like many new pharma companies in Ireland, this startup evolved from an education project, this time at the University College Dublin. Founded in 2015, ATXA Therapeutics is working to improve long-term health outcomes for PAH patients.


Diaceutics is a good example of the changing shape of the pharmaceutical industry. Rather than being directly involved with medical research or product development, Dundalk-based Diaceutics is a diagnostics and data company that aims to improve patient outcomes by managing data and working directly with 29 of the 30 largest pharma companies in the world.

New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development

Getting started in the pharmaceutical or medical technology field can be challenging. Whether a new operation or a spin-out from a research project, a little support can go a long way. The New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development program is designed to help people with issues as diverse as capital, taxation, recruitment, and training. Alternatively, for professionals looking for new opportunities in this sector as an employee, many of the world’s top and emerging pharmaceutical companies are hiring right now.

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