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Speech by the Taoiseach, Mr. Brian Cowen, T.D., at PPD Inc. Announcement, Sheraton Hotel, Athlone, Thursday, 18 December, 2008 at 11.15am


A dhaoine uaisle

Tá an-áthas orainn fáilte chuig Átha Luain a chur roimh PPD. Táimid ag tnúth go mór le caidreamh fada, torthúil leis an gcomhlacht iontach seo.

Thar ceann mo Rialtais, an Ghníomhaireacht Forbartha Tionscail Éireann agus an phobail áitiúla, ba mhaith liom a rá freisin go bhfuilimid réidh ár dtacaíocht iomlán a thairiscint chun an infhéistíocht mhór seo a chur chun cinn ar mhaithe leis an gceantar agus leis an ngeilleagar féin.

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen, Mayor Egbert Moran,

I'm delighted to be here today to announce that Pharmaceutical Product Development Inc. (PPD), headquartered in Wilmington, North Carolina, is to establish a contract research facility in Athlone, which will initially include a (cGMP) Current Good Manufacturing Practice analytical testing laboratory.

With the support of the Irish Government through IDA Ireland, the Company expects to invest up to €14 million in the facility and to create approximately 250 high value-added positions over five years for Ph.D. level scientists, analytical laboratory staff and other clinical development professionals.

The cGMP analytical facility will conduct testing for clinical and commercial programs spanning all phases of drug development. The laboratory will allow the company to continue to serve its growing client base in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and to win new business in this region. It will be licenced by the Irish Medicines Board.

PPD is a leading global contract research organisation providing discovery, development and post-approval services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device companies and academic and government agencies.

Clients include almost all of the world's top 50 pharmaceutical companies and more than 250 biotechnology/small pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

I would like to acknowledge the following people who were instrumental in choosing Ireland for this investment and who travelled to be with us here today from the US:

Dan Darazsdi
Patti McNamara
Chris Neild, and
Bruce Petersen

PPD is a world leader in contract research, and its decision to choose Ireland for this strategically important and knowledge-driven activity is very significant for the Midlands Region and for the country as a whole.

Winning this strategic project for Ireland is in line with IDA Ireland's and the Government's policy of attracting the highest quality investment from the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors to Ireland.

The addition of PPD to Ireland complements other laboratory service providers and adds significantly to the life science research and development cluster. We are delighted to welcome the company to Athlone and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with PPD.

IDA continues to win the most cutting edge and innovative investment for this region against intense international challenges and global competition, so I would also like today to acknowledge the tireless efforts of IDA Ireland in the region.

This latest investment by PPD Inc marks yet another vote of confidence in our reputation as a location for the most innovative foreign-owned companies.
These are, of course, very challenging times for our economy and for the world's economy. Supporting business has been a cornerstone of our economic strategy and we remain committed to doing everything we can to ensure that Ireland continues to be one of the best places in the world for doing business.

We have been taking a very proactive approach to tackling the economic challenges facing us - controlling public spending; stabilising our domestic financial system; and investing in infrastructure, so that we can take advantage of the upturn in the global economy when it comes about.

Later today, the Government will be launching our Framework for Economic Renewal, which will focus on how we can return to sustainable growth in the medium term. We have a difficult road to travel and there will be a premium on everyone playing their part but the Government can be counted on to give the necessary strong leadership.

Once again, I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome PPD Inc to Athlone and to thank all those involved for their continued commitment to Ireland.

On behalf of my Government, IDA Ireland and the local community, we stand ready to offer our fullest support in helping to get this major investment underway and achieve its full potential in the coming years.

Thank you very much for your attention.