Council to establish Limerick life sciences innovation hub

Cook Medical is one of several life sciences corporations based in Limerick.

LIMERICK City and County Council is looking to establish a life sciences innovation hub to provide laboratory space and other facilities to help start-up companies in the region.

The council has put out a request for tenders for a feasibility study to evaluate potential sites, as well as producing a set of recommendations for developing the concept for the Limerick region.

According to a tender document published earlier this month, the idea is to create a successful biopharma project in Limerick City to complement existing regional research and development infrastructure, as well as the many major multinational firms operating in the mid-west.

The life sciences  industry has been expanding rapidly in recent years with major capital investment by such firms as Regeneron and Cook Medical. Earlier this year, Eli Lilly said it was investing €400million into a new manufacturing facility in Limerick that would create 300 jobs.

The council document said the incubator would help fill a gap in the science start-up ecosystem in the Limerick area by providing a bespoke space where early-stage small firms could get access to prohibitively expensive specialised equipment and lab space to accelerate their growth.

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“Early-stage life sciences entrepreneurs and researchers will be able to use the facility to help explore their ideas, test them, and grow their business,” the document said.

“As part of its regular operations, the hub will run regular accelerator and venture development programmes for cohorts of life sciences start-ups, coaching them in entrepreneurial and scientific excellence, advising them on likely routes to investment, and facilitate an environment for peer learning.”

The project is on a tight timescale, with tenders due in the first week of September.

Winning applicants will be expected to produce an interim report by November 18 for inclusion in an application for a Regional Enterprise Innovation Scoping Scheme grant.

The entire project is expected to take four months on a budget of up to €42,000.