Explore Life Sciences Ep. 4: Starting Up in Life Sciences with Alan Hobbs

We’re glad to be back for another episode of our Explore Life Sciences Podcast!

Thanks to everyone who’s listening to our episodes each month, we are thrilled with the response and we look forward to producing many more episodes in the weeks and months to come! If this is your first time tuning in or discovering our podcast – Explore Life Sciences is a podcast about the Irish and Global Life Sciences industries and the people who are leading change. Each month we talk to a different guest throughout the various sectors of Life Sciences on topical conversations and how they ended up where they are today.

Meet Our Guest: Alan Hobbs

Alan works with Enterprise Ireland and manages the Irish Government’s Life Science High Potential Start-Up team who work with the best emerging Bio, Pharma and Medical Device companies in Ireland. He has 30 years of global experience living and working in China, Silicon Valley, Taiwan, Korea and Ireland. Alan started his career working for IDA Ireland targeting “C” level executives in US and Asian Multinationals, selling Ireland as a HQ for their EMEA activities. Later, he crossed over to the domestic side of economic development with roles in High Growth Markets, Corporate Communications and the Food sector. Alan is also an MBA graduate from Trinity College Dublin.

Here are the top 3 things we learned from our chat with Alan:

Alan works with various Irish start-ups to help them scale globally

Richard Molloy: Would you like to kick things off by telling us a bit about yourself and what it is that you do?

Alan Hobbs: So I’m currently the manager of the High Potential Start-Up unit here with the IDA. We focus specifically on industrial life science and consumer type companies. Within that, the majority would be on the life sciences side. So we help seed startups and foreign entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground and then help them scale globally.

The pandemic has accelerated favourable conditions for start-ups within the life sciences space

Richard Molloy: Has the pandemic driven the rise in the creation of start-ups within the life sciences sphere?

Alan Hobbs: I think it’s kind of accelerated the development of a lot of ideas that were out there in a much more open-arms approach to helping companies get off the ground early, and providing them with clinical environments where they can validate their proposition or prove the concept. COVID really accelerated that because of the issues associated with being in that environment with COVID in our atmosphere. So a lot of the companies that were coming up with solutions that allowed you to remotely monitor or manage conditions were particularly of interest to the health systems around the world. But outside of just that, we still have our traditional life science companies, from the neurons medicals and you’ve got other companies that are doing kind of heart-related kind of work, remote kind of operations, you’ve got companies doing robotic surgery. And so there’s a really, really interesting, diverse range of companies coming through in the life science sector.

If you’re interested in working with start-ups you should check out Enterprise Ireland’s Graduate Programme

Richard Molloy: What advice would you offer to anyone out there who may want to work with start-ups?

Alan Hobbs: For younger members or listeners, we have an incredible overseas graduate program, or an Irish graduate program. Every year, we recruit, I think it’s about 25, two-year grads, or grads for two years, and they could be placed anywhere from Boston to Beijing to Ballina. And they will get a really good grounding and experience here working with Irish companies.

Listen to our first episode “The Science of Business” with Kevin Walsh here.

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