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KBS, UL MBA graduates awarded Pharma Company of the Year - SME

KBS, UL MBA graduates, Patsy Carney and Tom Brennan, EirGen Pharma co-founders, were recently awarded Pharma Company of the Year - SME at the national Pharma Industry Awards 2017. Since launching in 2014, the Pharma Industry Awards has established itself as the benchmark for excellence for those operating in Ireland's pharma industry.

Tom and Patsy undertook the MBA programme together at KBS, UL, graduating in 2005. During their studies, they identified a specific niche in the pharmaceutical industry focusing on the development of highly potent pharmaceutical products. The original business plan to develop this opportunity was in fact an assignment for the Entrepreneurship Module of the MBA programme, led by Professor Patricia Fleming at UL. During this time, Tom and Patsy – accompanied by Prof Fleming - also took their business idea to San Diego where they represented UL at an International Business Plans Competition, making it to the final six and the only European entry at that stage of the competition. In the same competition, they also won an award for the best “telephone pitch” to a US investment banker.


Tom and Patsy, UL Alumni Award - Contribution to Business winners, pictured at the UL Alumni Awards 2016

Tom and Patsy’s Business Plan led to the creation of EirGen Pharma in Waterford, a company which now exports products to 45 countries worldwide including all of the EU, US, Canada and Japan, from its state of the art high containment facility.

In the decade since it was founded, EirGen has successfully completed over 45 clinical studies, mainly in the oncology therapeutic area and now employs over 140 highly skilled personnel at their facility in Waterford which is licensed by the HPRA, FDA and Japanese PMDA regulatory authorities. The company also benefited from a substantial investment from Saudi Pharmaceuticals Industries and Medical Appliances Corporation, one of the biggest pharma companies in the Middle East, using those funds to build out the facility and invest more in their R&D pipeline in 2012.

Always looking for the next opportunity, Tom and Patsy then turned their attention to the U.S., where much of their business lies, with a view to attracting the right company to bring theirs to the next level. In May 2015, EirGen was acquired (in a deal worth 135 million dollars) by OPKO Health Inc., a Miami, Florida based pharmaceutical company engaged in providing total solutions from diagnosis to treatment for unmet medical needs to improve the lives of patients. Part of the deal was that both Tom and Patsy would remain in their roles at the company where Co-Founder Tom is the CTO while Co-Founder Patsy is the CEO.

EirGen Pharma has been nominated for and won numerous awards including:

  • Irish Life Science Exporter of Year
  • AIB / Business & Finance Irish Emerging Company of the Year
  • Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
  • David Manley Start Up Business of the Year
  • UL Alumni Award - Contribution to Business

Today, Tom and Patsy are committed to and excited about the future of the company they founded. Earlier this year, EirGen OPKO entered into an agreement with IDA to acquire an Advanced Technology Building in Waterford to establish a new state of the art R&D facility which will lead to the creation of an additional 150 jobs.