(bio)Pharma Ireland Working Group

(bio)Pharma Ireland, is a national working group led by Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC), with representatives from the Pharmaceutical Technology Centre (PMTC), National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT), Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Enterprise   Ireland (EI), Irish Development Agency (IDA) and Biopharmachem Ireland (BPCI).

The aim of (bio)Pharma Ireland is to increase opportunities for research collaborations for the pharma sector; and ultimately contribute to the development of European roadmaps and policy. Through  (bio)Pharma  Ireland,  SSPC  has  embarked  on  a  period  of  engagement  and networking in order to influence and inform policy initiatives in support of advanced manufacturing. A number of bilateral meetings were held in Brussels with representatives from relevant European Technology Platforms (SPIRE, Factories of the Future, EuropaBio), DG Research and DG Innovation in June and October 2016.

The purpose of these meetings was to identify and establish opportunities for the Centre to engage more in the current work programmes. In February 2017, (bio)Pharma Ireland hosted a pan-European seminar in Brussels on the Future of (bio)Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, with participation from the European Commission, European Parliament, Council Secretariat EU experts, academia, industry leaders (eg. Eli Lilly, Janssen, Helsinn, Agilent) and EU research centres. Over 80 delegates attended this event and voiced their support for the transformation of (bio)Pharma Ireland to a (bio)Pharma Europe initiative.

The most important precondition for a successful collaboration is the existence of a common need. SSPC built this partnership and alliance to support innovation in biopharmaceutical manufacturing and secure the future of the sector in Europe. (bio)Pharma Ireland was formed with the aim of raising the profile of the Irish pharmaceutical sector in Europe, and to increase opportunities for research collaboration. As a first step in realising its objectives, delegates from (bio)Pharma Ireland have participated in a workshop with key associations such as SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource & Energy Efficiency), EFFRA (European Factories of the Future Research Association) and EuropaBio (European Association for Bioindustries), and the European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG Research).

Future outcomes to include:
-    European Parliament hearing to preview regulatory support for innovation in advanced medicines manufacturing
-    Proposal for Council Presidency discussion on the White Paper on Innovating Medicine Manufacture (Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria Council Presidencies)
-    Launch of a group of MEPs to support the White Paper process
-    Support the European Medicines Agency (EMA) discharge process by proposing specific related amendments

There is great importance to increasing EU research opportunities for innovation within the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector and an effective way of communicating this message to the relevant stakeholders in Europe is strengthened by this collective group.

With the intervention of SSPC, the level of awareness as to the importance of the pharma manufacturing sector to EU has increased significantly. The White Paper will serve to advance engagement with key EU policy makers and, thus, create opportunities for Irish stakeholders to influence the scope of the next European framework-funding programme (FP9).

Seán Kelly, MEP, paid a visit to the Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC) team at the University of Limerick recently to discuss (bio)Pharma Ireland objectives in Europe.

Pictured, from left: Prof. Gavin Walker, SSPC Co-Director, Dr Mary Shire, VP Research, University of Limerick, Seán Kelly, MEP, Aisling Arthur, (bio) Pharma Ireland, Jon O’Halloran, SSPC General Manager and Prof. Michael Zaworotko, SSPC Co-Director. Below, SSPC investigator, Dr Denise Croker provides a tour of the research facility based in the Bernal Institute, UL.

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