UL's Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology Centre

The Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD, launched the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology Centre (PMTC). The State, through the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, is investing €5M over the next 5 years in this industry-focussed Centre which will deliver advanced technology solutions to contemporary manufacturing issues currently challenging the Irish pharmaceutical sector. PMTC is the latest of 15 state-supported Technology Centres established jointly by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland. The centre will be headquartered at the University of Limerick (UL) and brings together 24 industry partners and 9 Higher Education Institutes who will deliver the research. Tackling challenges of cost-competitiveness and patent expiry will be key issues for the Centre.

The aim of PMTC is to make Ireland the global hub of pharmaceutical process innovation and manufacturing and ultimately support an industry which directly employs over 25,000 people. Manufacturing cost competitiveness and patent expiry are among the two most critical issues which threaten the future of this industry which contributes over €40BN in annual Irish exports per annum. Launching the centre, Minister English said: “The pharmaceutical industry is a very important provider of employment and growth in Ireland’s economy. This joint initiative of Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland to make the pharma industry more competitive and efficient is most welcome. The fact that the research agenda is defined and informed by the companies involving both Irish SMEs and multinationals gives strength to the industry’s effort to tackle challenges such as the patents cliff and manufacturing competitiveness.”

Dr Mary Shire, Vice President Research, University of Limerick said: “Ireland has one of the best reputations globally in pharmaceutical manufacturing and it’s important that we continue to support the sector so we attract further investment and retain existing investments. The PMTC provides companies with the opportunity to work together and harness academic expertise to address key manufacturing challenges they face. One specific research area is in process analytical technology which will help companies reduce cost and thus enhance competitiveness.”

The industry consortium currently comprises a mix of indigenous multinational pharmaceutical companies and SME’s including: Alkermes, Allergan Pharmaceutical, Applied Process Consulting, Astellas, Bristol-Myers Squibb Swords, Crest Solutions, Eli Lilly, Gilead, GSK, Helsinn Birex, Innopharma Labs, Janssen, Label Art, Leo Pharma, Merck Sharp Dohme, Pfizer, Process Analytics, Roche, Servier, Sigmoid Pharma, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Techno-Path, Teva Pharmaceuticals and TopChem Pharma.

Speaking on behalf of the 24 companies involved, Donal Coveney, MD of TopChem said “The major commercial impact for member companies will be the access to technology generated by the research team in the PMTC. The implementation of these technologies will lead to improved competitiveness, increased or retained employment and more secure future prospects for the companies involved”.