She was officially opening a new research and development centre in Bray, Co Wicklow, for Megazyme, a global leader in the development of diagnostic test kits for the food, feed, dairy and beverage industries.
Ms Coughlan said that the new centre will enable Megazyme to secure new successes in the fields of molecular biology, research and immunology.
Ms Coughlan said that given the dependence of the Irish economy on industries such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare, chemicals, agriculture and food, it is of strategic importance to have a strong biotech sector in place to ensure that the country keeps pace with global developments.
She congratulated Angela Kennedy, and Dr Barry McCleary, who formed Megazyme, on their vision, drive, determination and great achievements.
The molecular diagnostics, on which Megazyme’s research programme is focused, is a new technology, which is transforming the way in which food content and human health is diagnosed.
The industry is growing at 12% annually.
Megazyme exports 98% to 60 countries worldwide, both direct to customer and via a distribution channel of 23 distributors.
It has expanded the present plant by 15,500sq ft with state-of-the-art laboratories to accommodate research, office, conference and catering facilities at its headquarters in the IDA Business Park in Bray.
The new programme has cost the company around €3.7 million.
The company has a target to double turnover to €5.35m and increase staff numbers from 16 to 32 over the same period.
By Ray Ryan
The Irish Examiner - Business, 28th June 2005