Irish Examiner – Working Life with Declan Moran: We challenge ourselves to find innovative ways of doing things

Declan Moran, the vice president of API Development in Dublin, described his working life to the Irish Examiner. You can read the article below, or on the Irish Examiner website here.


Declan Moran is the vice president of API development at biopharmaceutical company Ipsen.

Bailey our dog takes myself and my wife Marie for a walk on Velvet Strand in Portmarnock. It’s a fantastic way to start the day.

My first formal appointment is with our 18-strong API team. API stands for active pharmaceutical ingredients, in other words, the components of a drug that produce the intended effect.

The components we are most interested in at Ipsen are those that can be used to treat patients with rare diseases. They are traditionally underserved by the wider pharmaceutical industry.

We are always challenging ourselves to find innovative ways of doing things, always with patients in mind, in as sustainable a manner as possible. We concentrate on three key therapeutic areas – oncology, rare diseases, and neurosciences. During the pandemic, half the team worked at home and the other half in the laboratory and it was very effective.

As head of function for API, I meet with other heads of function to align our work and make sure we are meeting our KPIs (key performance indicators) and that we are on track to bring our medicines to market as soon as possible to benefit patients.

Ipsen has been in Ireland for more than 30 years and we have a growing portfolio of therapies for prostate cancer, neuroendocrine tumours, renal cell carcinoma and pancreatic cancer.

In the early days, we developed a treatment for gigantism (abnormally large growth) and that drug compound has since been approved for other uses such as in oncology, so it’s a good example of never giving up on medicines.

After spending the morning at the manufacturing site in Blanchardstown, much of the afternoon is taken up brainstorming with the pharmaceutical leadership development team, and with medical and scientific experts, on how to progress our products through clinical programmes as quickly as possible.

We recently secured €25m to scale up Ipsen’s Irish manufacturing base to facilitate additional production of the API in one of our leading medicines.

We have roundtable discussions about talent recruitment and retention. Pharma is a competitive sector but we have managed to increase our intake by 20% since 2019. We employ 165 staff, 92% have third-level qualifications.

Home to revert to my role as scheduled taxi of Dad, ferrying Amy (19), James (15), and Conor (12) to various activities.

© Ipsen Group 2024