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University of Limerick-based SSPC scoops double win at Pharma Awards

Thu, 05 May 2022

SSPC, the University of Limerick hosted Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals, is celebrating on the double after taking home the awards for Pharma Research Centre of the Year and Innovation of the Year at the recent Irish Pharma Industry Awards.

SSPC’s success is defined through its unique collaboration abilities and building R&D excellence in one of Ireland’s largest industries. The role that industry members play within the SSPC is a multi-faceted one that is successful in both responding to current needs of the sector and anticipating the skills and training necessary to mentor future research leaders.

Prof. Damien Thompson, SSPC Director and Professor of Physics at UL, said: “We are delighted that SSPC have received this award and is recognised for its exceptional collaborations and links with industry. Congratulations to everybody in the Centre who made this award possible, it is a testament to the ongoing and developing partnerships that drive production, innovation and economic growth.”

Sarah Hayes, SSPC COO, said: “Over the past 12 months, the SSPC has delivered outstanding outputs for complex projects. This award is a great honour, and we are thrilled that we have been recognised for our work and continued commitment to joint academic/industry collaborations. We are delighted to have won this award celebrating the unique ground-breaking fundamental research projects within SSPC”.

The Innovation of the Year award was awarded to SSPC investigator Dr Luis Padrela based at the Department of Chemical Science and the Bernal Institute, for his technology called CM-NANO. This technology has been developed through a Commercialisation Fund project supported by Enterprise Ireland, where Dr Padrela has developed novel batch/semi-continuous and continuous nano-spray coating technologies for the single-step manufacture of directly compressible drug nanoparticles.

Dr Padrela has collaborated with Professor Kevin M Ryan, Chair of Chemical Nanotechnology at UL, on the development of the CM-Nano technology, which offers a solution to poorly soluble drugs while also addressing poor bioavailability, low efficacy and poor flowability/manufacturability. The industrial implementation of this continuous technology will contribute to a greener manufacturing footprint by using a continuous manufacturing approach which will require less raw material.

Dr Luis Padrela, commenting on the win, said: “Our focus has always been on the development of innovative technologies. We are proud to receive the innovation award which reaffirms our strong focus on such technologies and on developing products and solutions that can be applied to multiple disease states and therapies, multiple drugs, drug products within the Centre.”

SSPC earned these awards for its excellent record of accomplishment in delivering industry-led projects over the years, building a strong foundation of trust with our partners, which fosters further collaborations. Over the past two years SSPC has extended their international reach and currently lead numerous research projects with partner sites based in 8 European countries and across the US.

The Centre currently collaborates with over 43 leading pharmaceutical companies both nationally and internationally. Hosted at the University of Limerick, SSPC investigators work at nine Higher Education Institutes across Ireland.