Case Study | Europharma Concepts

Toothpaste maker’s brush with Ireland

Europharma ConceptsEuropharma Concepts manufactures and packages liquid, paste and gel dental products including own-label toothpaste for major retailers. Founder and CEO Declan Lenahan is Irish born but had spent his career in Australia and the UK before returning home to set up the business. 

Declan Lenahan, CEO, Europharma Concepts
Declan Lenahan, CEO, Europharma Concepts

The pitch

Europharma manufactures for a range of international customers, from pharmacies in Sweden and Belgium to developing own-brand toothpaste for a UK retailer and making a high-end toothpaste for the Swiss market that sells for €14. All of the company’s products are custom developed for each client with high levels of research and development behind them. 

Why Ireland

Lenahan had left Ireland straight after college and after a varied career had been working on a medical devices product in Australia when that company’s founder asked him to sell the product in Europe. The product was initially to be made in the UK but Lenahan wanted to find a way to manufacture in Ireland because he wanted to return home. Enterprise Ireland provided the company with funding to start and grow the business. Lenahan says Europharma’s relationship with Enterprise Ireland has strengthened over time and in addition to the financial support, he praises the agency’s assistance in focusing his business plan and in connecting him with mentors.

Since 2007 Europharma has been manufacturing in its own ‘clean room’ facility located at its site in Clara, Co Offaly in the Irish midlands. The company employs 40 people. “Another thing that did attract me to Ireland is, the level of staff is really good. There is a great catchment area of trained medical devices and lab staff in the region to suit my requirements. I knew the calibre of people here would be good and there is no other toothpaste company in Ireland so I knew I could get the loyalty of the staff,” says Lenahan.

In addition to pure manufacture, Europharma has developed a strong R&D function at the site. “Our quality systems are world standard and consequently the products are world standard. We say we make the best toothpaste in the world, in Clara,” adds Lenahan. While predominantly an exporter, Europharma plans to launch in the Irish market. The company is also looking at the US market from its Irish base. “We’re ready to launch to the world, and that’s the fun part of the business,” he says.

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