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The med-tech firm plans to double its work force.

Galway med-tech firm behind groundbreaking vaccine to create 500 new jobs

The Galway-based firm created a vaccine by inhaler that is now being used in China’s booster programme.

A GALWAY MEDICAL-TECH firm which created a ground-breaking vaccine by inhaler is set to double its workforce to 1,000.

 Aerogen plans to hire an additional 500 staff after its aerosol inhaler was used in China’s booster programme.

Shaped like a coffee cup, the inhaler is the first of its kind to deliver a vaccine directly into the airways, removing the need for injections.

 Aerogen chief executive John Power said the firm has probably doubled its workforce to 500 over the last three years, and will probably do the same again over the next three years.

Last week, China announced it was relaxing the most severe elements of its controversial zero-Covid policy.

Mr Power maintains his firm – recently named Ireland’s Technology Exporter of the Year at the Asia Matters Business Awards – played a “significant” role in this.

He said the absence of a needle in China’s new booster programme, using the Dangan-based firm’s technology, means greater numbers, especially the elderly, are now willing to get a booster.

Approved for use in 11 of China’s 31 provinces, it also uses just a fifth of the vaccine compared with the amount needed by the hypodermic method.

WhatsApp Image 2022-12-13 at 12.25.33 The Irish firm created a vaccine by inhaler that has been a success

The deal to deliver booster doses developed by Chinese vaccine company CanSinoBio is worth “tens of millions” to Aerogen – and Mr Power expects additional orders as European drug firms begin to show an interest.

“The more people you can convince to get vaccinated, the better chance you have of containment [of the virus],” he said.

“This is seen as a pretty significant step on the route to China opening up. It could really be a game changer.”

Mr Power said doing business in China presented “unique” challenges.

“There are plenty of opportunities but you can get burnt if you don’t work with the right people,” he said.

“The important thing is you have got to be well-partnered in China. In our case, CanSinoBio are a publicly listed company – they are certainly not fly-by-night but are regarded as leaders in vaccine science in China and internationally.”

Aerogen was honoured at the Asia Matters Business Awards in Dublin, organised every year by Irish think tank, Asia Matters. 

Asia Matters’ chief executive, Martin Murray said: “The Government has stated that it wants two-way trade with Asia to reach 100 billion euro by 2025.

“The quality of this year’s entrants to our awards shows that goal is certainly achievable.”

Current open positions with the firm can be found here. 

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