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Irish Research Centres Lead the Way Towards Lower Cost and Higher Quality Medicines


James McNamara, SSPC and Tod CantyJames McNamara, SSPC and Tod Canty, JM Canty examining a vision based dynamic imaging system to look at particles size, shape and concentration


This week over 100 Irish and international world-leading academic and industrial pharmaceutical scientists attended the first annual SSPC-PMTC Process Analytical Technology (PAT) conference, hosted by SSPC and PMTC at the University of Limerick.

The conference showcased how the global pharmaceutical industry is using PAT research innovations to produce lower cost and higher quality medicines. Dr Patrick Frawley, SSPC, MSSI, UL, conference co-organiser said:

“The changing world economy and healthcare scene has resulted in pressure to reduce the price of medicines. Economic and health benefits can be derived from more innovative manufacturing in the pharmaceutical sector potentially leading to savings of tens of billions of euros annually. PAT is key player in such innovative pharmaceutical manufacturing. PAT research innovations, such as those delivered by the SSPC and PMTC, are key enablers of manufacturing pharmaceutical products in a faster, better and cleaner way, which not only reduce the manufacturing cost of medicines, but also increase the quality of medicines delivered to the public”.

Delegates at the conference heard from globally leading PAT scientists and their next generation medicine manufacturing innovations and practices. The conference included showcases from PAT scientists based at the SSPC and PMTC in the University of Limerick, University College Cork and University College Dublin; University of Cambridge; University of Auckland; Teedside University; Ghent University; and VTT Finland; as well as industry PAT practices from SSPC/PMTC industry partners Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Janssen and Abbvie - seven of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world. A site visit to SSPC/PMTC industry partner Roche, based in Clarecastle, Co Clare, demonstrated how cutting-edge PAT research is being exploited by the pharmaceutical industry in Ireland. Professor Gavin Walker SSPC/PMTC, UL conference co-organiser said:

“The SSPC-PMTC Process Analytical Technology (PAT) conference is the first of its kind in Ireland. This conference provides a unique opportunity to both Irish and international academic and industrial pharmaceutical scientists to exchange knowledge and practices, within a collaborative environment. This openness is a culture that is actively fostered by the SSPC and PMTC, and is of critical importance to the future development of the global pharmaceutical sector. We look forward to future conferences and opportunities to share, learn and collaborate with our international colleagues”.

The SSPC-PMTC Process Analytical Technology (PAT) conference was funded by Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Conference and Workshops Award 2015, sponsored by the SSPC and PMTC, and hosted by Roche and the University of Limerick.

With approximately 120 (bio)pharmaceutical companies and nine of the world’s top ten pharmaceutical companies based in Ireland, pharmaceutical manufacturing contributes significantly to Ireland’s economy. It employs over 25,000 individuals directly and 24,500 indirectly and contributes over 50% of all Irish exports, making Ireland the second largest pharmaceutical exporter in the world.*

The Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC), a Global Hub of Pharmaceutical Process Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing, funded by Science Foundation Ireland and industry, is a unique collaboration between 22 industry partners, 9 research performing organisations and 12 international academic collaborators. The SSPC leads the way for next generation drug manufacture and spans the entire pharmaceutical production chain from synthesis of the molecule, to the isolation of the material, and the formulation of the medicine.

The Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology Centre (PMTC) is hosted by the University of Limerick with core funding of €1M per annum from the Irish government (Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland). Income is supplemented with co-funding from industry and other public sources. The PMTC is focussed on delivering advanced technology solutions to address contemporary issues in pharmaceutical manufacturing.