Discover Our Research
SSPC provides the life sciences sector with a nationally distributed, research performing community that enables high impact, collaborative research between industry and academic partners.
SSPC is committed to translating its excellent science into impact through five societal goals: Sustainability, Small Molecule, Biologics, Health, Education and Public Engagement.
Education & Public Engagement
SSPC nurtures a talent pipeline of high calibre scientists and engineers for the sector, through our internal PhD training programme and various CPD mechanisms available to our industry partners. SSPC offers a unique proposition through its industry placement programme and 63% of SSPC graduates go on to be employed in industry both nationally and globally.
Since its inception, SSPC has successfully collaborated with over 50 industry partners, composed of indigenous and foreign operations, whose size range from small to multi-national. Collectively, this demonstrates a strong track-record in delivering applied research that enables industry to solve challenges leading to the development of better medicine. SSPC has supported 54 industry projects since 2019.
International Research Funding won
Transition of Researchers to Industry
Education & Public Engagement Activities
- SSPC researchers secure €4.4 million through SFI Frontiers for the Future ProgrammeMinister Harris announces 62 research grants through the SFI Frontiers for the Future Programme to the value of €42 million 30th May 2023 – Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD, has today announced 62 grants valued at €42 million to support research across 13 Higher Education Institutions through Science Foundation Ireland’s Frontiers for the Future Programme. Minister Harris commented on the programme: “These awards, supported under the SFI Frontiers for the Future programme, will enable research ideas to contribute new knowledge, solving problems faced by our society, while also providing a continuum of support from early career to established researchers, thus growing and retaining top talent in Ireland. The SFI Frontiers for the Future programme takes important steps to address gender imbalance and to provide support and opportunity for emerging investigators who are returning to their research after a period of leave.” Professor Philip Nolan, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, said: “I am delighted that we are funding 62 new research grants through the SFI Frontiers for the Future programme. A key action of SFI’s strategy is to deliver 140 investigator grants every year to support excellent research and to attract top talent. The Frontiers for the Future programme is the primary mechanism to achieve this goal. It is vital that we invest in excellent and innovative research in Ireland. I would like to thank the Children’s Health Foundation and Geological Survey Ireland for collaborating on this programme with SFI, allowing us to fund projects which will have a significant impact in key areas.” This programme was funded in collaboration with the Children’s Health Foundation (CHF) and Geological Survey Ireland (GSI). Congratulations to SSPC researchers nationally for securing €4.4M in funding, with projects focussed on vaccines, anticancer agents, treatment of resistant cancers, a new type of molecule that enhances pharmaceutical properties. substance that stimulates or suppresses the immune system and may help the body fight cancer, infection, or other disease and DNA targeting. One of the 13 larger scale awards: Elizabeth Topp, The National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training and Steven Ferguson, University College Dublin. Stable chemically modified mRNA vaccines, Value: €1,247,356 Projects – 5 of the 49 high-risk, high-reward research projects: Andrea Erxleben, University of Galway. Novel Platinum-Based Mitocans for the Treatment of Resistant Cancers: Synthesis, Targeted Delivery and Biological Studies, Value: €489,684. Novel metal-based cancer drugs will be developed which attack cancer cells from two distinct pathways simultaneously. The drugs will be encapsulated into functionalized nanocarriers for their selective delivery to breast cancer cells. Declan Gilheany, University College Dublin. Small Nitrogen Bicycles: Constrained Molecular Geometry for Aza Bioisosteres, Encouraged Lewis Pairs and Pentavalent, Pentaco-ordinate Nitrogen, Value: €481,245. This project proposes a new type of molecule with a nitrogen atom in a special environment at the conjunction of two small rings (bicycle) of carbon atoms. One side of the nitrogen is crowded with atoms, while the other is quite open. We predict two far-reaching consequences: (i) the molecule is relatively smaller than normal, which should give enhanced pharmaceutical properties for >50% of all drugs; (ii) there is room at nitrogen for the attachment of more atoms – one more gives new catalysts for carbon capture, while two more would be a molecule that is supposed not be able to exist. Doireann O’Kiely, University of Limerick. Mathematical models for wrinkle technology (WrinkleTech), Value €466,109 Jakki Cooney, University of Limerick. Dynamic communication networks controlling immunomodulatory enzyme specificity and activity (DyNetIME), Value: €623,085 Susan Quinn, University College Dublin. PhotoGene: Photoactive Nucleic Acid Probes Towards New Diagnostics and Therapeutics, Value: €602,648...Read more...
- Prof. Thorri Gunnlaugsson ICE David Brown Award 2023 recipientBest wishes to SSPC investigator Prof. Thorri Gunnlaugsson, School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin, on receiving the ICI David Brown Award, recognising his outstanding contribution to inorganic chemistry both nationally and internationally. Professor Gunnlaugsson delivered his award lecture entitled ‘Tails of two endeavours! The application of lanthanides and Ru(II) in the formation of luminescent supramolecular systems’ during the Inorganic Ireland Symposium 2023 today. Thorri has been named the 2nd ranked top scientist in Ireland in the field of Chemistry in a recent research.com ratings. The ranking contains h-index, publications and citations values collected in 2022. This award was established in 2014 to honour Professor David Brown of University College Dublin in recognition of his enormous contribution to inorganic chemistry both nationally and internationally. Professor Brown, together with Professor Bill Davis (TCD) hosted the International Conference on Coordination Chemistry (ICCC) in UCD in 1974. With some funds remaining, Professor Brown set up what became known as the Greystones weekend meetings, which were held in the LaTouche Hotel in Greystones and later in a more formal setting, in Maynooth University, hosted by Dr Malachy McCann every three years until 2005. This was re-launched as a one day Inorganic Ireland Symposium and has been held approximately every two years since then. A highlight of this symposium is the presentation of the ICI David Brown award to a colleague who has made an outstanding contribution to inorganic chemistry....Read more...
- SSPC Alumni at the SSPC Industry Recruitment DaySSPC the SFI Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals is a unique platform that connects the best and brightest minds in the pharmaceutical and bio-pharmaceutical industries. SSPC provides a network of alumni with PhDs in the pharmaceutical and bio-pharmaceutical industries, who are available to share their expertise with industry professionals. Through this, it supports innovation in research, development, manufacturing and other areas of the pharmaceutical sector. SSPC also serves as a hub for industry networking events, workshops and conferences. It is an invaluable resource for companies looking to recruit top talent from the pharmaceutical sector or seeking advice on new products or services. Our events provide a great platform for alumni to keep in touch with each other, share knowledge and experiences, and develop highly skilled professionals who can offer insight into the latest developments in the field of pharmaceuticals. This networking is invaluable when it comes to staying up-to-date on new technologies, trends, and opportunities that may present themselves. Our alumni is an invaluable resource and we were delighted to welcome back some of our alumni to our recent recruitment day (pictured): Patrick McCaw, SME – Flexible API Supply Technology / Process Chemistry, Pfizer, Cathy Potter, Snr. Scientist in Formulation & Drug Product Development, Alkermes, Ana Luiza Pinto Queiroz, Snr Process Development Engineer, APC Ltd., Shubhangi Kakkar, Manufacturing Process Specialist at The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and Barry Long, Spray Drying Engineer, MSD. We loved having some of our previous researchers come back as our industry link for our recruitment day. They are an invaluable asset to us and provided valuable insights and connections into their respective industries. They shared their wealth of experience and knowledge to all our current researchers, making the day very beneficial for all....Read more...
- SSPC Pharmaceutical Recruitment DayThis week SSPC welcomed industry members Eli Lilly, APC Ltd., Pfizer, MSD, CADFEM, Janssen, Innopharma and SK biotek to a pharmaceutical recruitment day providing an opportunity to those looking to take their career to the next level. There is a wealth of PhDs available for recruitment and pharmaceutical companies in Ireland are now looking to tap into this talent pool. SSPC is renowned for their talent. Our people are our greatest asset, and SSPC produces excellent people. This is largely in part due to the quality of talent the Centre attracts, and the experience SSPC offers. Ireland is a hub for pharmaceutical talent development. With a growing number of PhDs in the field, the recruitment of talented individuals has become increasingly important. The country’s bio-pharmaceutical sector is rapidly expanding, creating a need for skilled professionals to fill the gap. SSPC is a world-leading research organisation dedicated to the advancement of pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical science. Our graduates have a 100% employment rate and high transition rate into industry (69%, which is significantly higher than EU counterparts), thus closing the circle and enhancing standards and skills within the sector in Ireland and globally. The centre provides an excellent environment for PhD students to develop their skills and knowledge in this field. SSPC has been able to attract some of the best talent in pharmaceutical research from around the world. By design, our researchers work in interdisciplinary teams that can include industry engagement. SSPC is committed to providing students with a unique learning experience that combines academic excellence with industry-relevant training. The centre also provides a range of resources and facilities that are essential for carrying out successful research projects in many fields. The pharma sector has seen an influx of highly qualified professionals from across Europe and beyond, helping to bolster the Irish pharmaceutical industry. With access to excellent facilities and cutting-edge technology, these PhDs have the potential to make a real impact on the future of pharmaceuticals in Ireland. The demand for pharmaceutical talent in Ireland is increasing as more companies are investing in research and development. This has led to an increase in the number of PhDs who are looking to work in the industry. Companies are looking for candidates with strong technical skills and knowledge of drug discovery, manufacturing, and regulatory processes. SSPC are delighted to be part of this story and through our collaborative approach, we has been able to facilitate knowledge exchange between different stakeholders and foster new ideas that can help shape the future of pharmaceuticals. SSPC is committed to providing a platform for collaboration among all stakeholders involved in this sector so that they can work together towards achieving common goals....Read more...
- Congratulations to Prof. Anne Marie Healy and Aer TherapeuticsAer Therapeutics Closes $36 Million Series A to Advance Development of AER-01, an Innovative Mucolytic for the Treatment of Lung Diseases Congratulations to SSPC investigator Prof. Anne Marie Healy at Trinity College Dublin, who is part of the Aer Therapeutics, Inc. team who have a Series A financing of $36 Million for an Innovative Mucolytic for the Treatment of Lung Diseases. The IP arose from collaboration between University of California, San Francisco, Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin. Dr Fahy’s laboratory collaboratively developed AER-01 with Stefan Oscarson’s glycochemistry laboratory at UCD and Prof. Anne Marie Healy’s pharmaceutical technology laboratory TCD. Investors in this round were Canaan, OrbiMed and Hatteras Venture Partners. Link: https://aertherapeutics.com/press-releases/aer-therapeutics-closes-36-million-series-a-to-advance-development-of-aer-01-an-innovative-mucolytic-for-the-treatment-of-lung-diseases/ ...Read more...
- UCC launch Future PharmaceuticalsUniversity College Cork (UCC) have launched Future Pharmaceuticals, led by Prof. Anita Maguire, SSPC investigator. As part of the UCC Futures, Future Pharmaceuticals builds on established expertise across the pharmaceutical sciences and engineering, and cognizant of the location of the University at the heart of a globally significant cluster of pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies. UCC Futures – Future Pharmaceuticals advances interdisciplinary collaboration among world-leading scientists and engineers advancing knowledge to underpin the discovery, development, and manufacture of pharmaceuticals, spanning small molecules to biopharmaceuticals. Future Pharmaceuticals brings together complementary expertise in synthesis, biocatalysis, solid state characterization, drug-target discovery & characterization, molecular biology, drug formulation and delivery, advanced process control, process optimization, machine learning, underpinned by advanced analytical techniques, leading to interdisciplinary approaches to complex challenges in lead discovery, formulation selection, and process development. Crossing traditional discipline boundaries is critical to ensure effective collaboration with the pharma sector. Future Pharmaceuticals leverages extensive infrastructure across the key Schools (Chemistry, Pharmacy, Engineering & Architecture, Biochemistry & Cell Biology, Microbiology, CUBS) and research centres and institutes (APC, Tyndall, ABCRF) including advanced NMR and LC-MS, continuous flow systems, etc. Future Pharmaceuticals will advance understanding of the development and production of new medicines at scale to ensure they are available to patients, ensuring that affordable products are designed to ensure efficacy and safety and, in a patient-centric approach. Collaboration with strategic partners at a national level include NIBRT, the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT – National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training) and SSPC, the SFI Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals, and substantive engagements with industry through collaborative research projects, support for PhD students, participation in research-lead teaching etc. Applications are currently sought for 7 positions across a number of disciplines that support the ambitions of UCC Futures – Future Pharmaceuticals. The appointment of researchers of excellence, from Lecturer to Professor, across multiple Schools will connect disciplines and promote interdisciplinary research opportunities across all Colleges, particularly within the College of Science, Engineering & Food Science and Tyndall National Institute. Check out this link for more infomation https://www.ucc.ie/en/futures/futurepharmaceuticals/...Read more...
- Flow Knowledge Day and Community of PracticeSSPC, in partnership with Pfizer hosted a Flow Knowledge Day and Community of Practice on the 15th of February. The format of the event comprised both academic and industry presentations, poster session and panel discussion providing opportunity for an engaging session and knowledge sharing across the sector. Presentations on the day catered to all levels of expertise and topics included: An Introduction to Flow – Aoife Kearney, UCC Hazardous Reagents, Telescoping and PAT – Prof. Anita Maguire, UCC Photochemistry, High Energy, Catalysis, Green Chemistry – Dr Marcus Baumann, UCD Engineering continuous processes, Mixing, RTD, heat and mass transfer – Prof. Vivek Ranade, UL Scale-up and Hydrogenation – Dr Megan Smyth, Almac Flow chemistry for safe sustainable and intensified processes – Dr Philippe Roth, Corning Based on the high level of interest in the topic of Flow Chemistry & Engineering, SSPC is launching a Community of Practice (CoP). The Flow CoP will bring together industry and academia interested in sharing best practice approaches and creating new knowledge to advance the practice of Flow Chemistry. Tune into our YouTube Channel and listen back to Marcus Baumann’s talk on Flow Technology as an Enabler for the Discovery of New Chemical Reactions: For more information please contact [email protected] or [email protected]...Read more...
- Clodagh Carr’s secondment to Technical University of DenmarkClodagh Carr, a final year SSPC PhD student at University College Cork offers insight on her recent academic secondment with Peter Westh’s group at the Technical University of Denmark. “This placement provided insight into both academia and industry, and nicely demonstrated how to strengthen the ties between them.” I am a final year PhD candidate in Prof. Alan Dobson’s environmental microbiology group at University College Cork. My research is focused on enzymes from marine bacteria with potential use in biocatalysis and biodegradation applications. In particular, we are investigating marine polyesterases, which are versatile enzymes that are of interest for biological recycling, sustainable chemical synthesis, and polymer modifications. For my international secondment, I was based in Prof. Peter Westh’s group in the Section for Protein Chemistry and Enzymology at the Technical University of Denmark. The Westh group specialise in the biochemical characterisation and kinetic analysis of enzymes that catalyse industrially relevant reactions, especially those involving the breakdown of complex substrates such as lignocellulose and synthetic polymers. I also had the opportunity to initiate collaboration with a team in Novozymes, world leader in biosolutions. Here, I received excellent training in enzyme production and purification as well as their recently developed test systems for the characterisation of plastic-degrading enzymes. This work aligned nicely with my PhD project, but the additional benefit of spending time in a centre that is largely dedicated to enzyme biochemistry provided invaluable insight into the scope of such research. In Denmark, and particularly at DTU, the biggest difference was probably the emphasis on process and system optimisation. That said, while I will definitely take inspiration from the Danish approach to work and life, I also learnt the full meaning of “faraway hills are greener”....Read more...
- Royal Irish Academy elects Pat Guiry as PresidentPat Guiry, full Professor of Synthetic Organic Chemistry at the University College Dublin, School of Chemistry and Director of the Centre for Synthesis and Chemical Biology, will take up the position as the 58th President of the Royal Irish Academy with immediate effect. Prof. Guiry’s research specialises in synthetic organic chemistry, with interests in both the development of asymmetric synthetic methodology through the application of new chiral ligands in homogeneous metal-catalysed transformations, and in the total synthesis of compounds of biological interest. Since 2013, Pat has been an SSPC strand leader, his group developed the first catalytic asymmetric synthesis of isoflavanones, an important class of natural products, with potential anti-cancer and anti-microbial therapeutic capabilities. Now a Co-Principal investigator with SSPC, Pat’s group works to develop new methodologies for the asymmetric synthesis of existing APIs and future drug candidates with particular focus on the discovery and application of organometallic complexes for industrially-relevant and small molecule organocatalysts for industrially-relevant, synthetic transformations. Biography Pat Guiry grew up in County Tipperary and attended the Patrician Brothers Primary School and the Patrician Brothers / Presentation Sisters Secondary School in Fethard. He studied at University College Dublin (UCD), B.Sc. 1986 and Ph.D. 1990 with Professor Dervilla Donnelly and was a visiting student in the group of Nobel Prize winner, Professor Sir Derek Barton FRS. He carried out postdoctoral research in asymmetric catalysis with John M. Brown FRS (Oxford University). He joined UCD in 1993 and is currently the Director of the Centre for Synthesis and Chemical Biology and Full Professor of Synthetic Organic Chemistry since 2006. His research interests include the design, synthesis, and application of novel ligands in asymmetric catalysis, natural product synthesis, and medicinal chemistry. He has supervised 59 Ph.D. students to graduation to date, worked with 24 postdoctoral fellows and supervised over 120 final year undergraduate project students. His work has been published in over 180 peer-reviewed papers, review articles and book chapters. He was elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2013 and is an elected member of the UCD Governing Authority (third term) and of the Senate of the National University of Ireland (third term). He was the Science Secretary of the Royal Irish Academy from 2016−2020 and is the President of the Institute of Chemistry in Ireland from 2019−present and President of the EuChemS Division of Organic Chemistry. He chairs the Board of the Young Scientist & Technology Ltd and is a Head Judge in the Chemistry/Physics/Mathematics category. He was recipient of the UCD President’s Teaching Award in 1999, the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland’s Boyle-Higgins Medal in 2014 and the Science Foundation Ireland Mentorship Award in 2020. A keen tennis player, with 19 Irish national titles to date, he represented Ireland in 2022 in the Austria Cup (ITF World Team Competition) in Florida. We wish Pat every success in his role....Read more...
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SSPC alumni can be found all over the world, no matter how long you were part of our Centre, we want to connect and would love to hear from you.
SSPC’s world-leading Research Programme
Our unique and innovative culture of collaboration is helping the global pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry to develop more environmentally sustainable methods for drug manufacturing; to increase the range of medicines available to the public and to reduce drug manufacturing costs. SSPC’s advanced research programme extends from Molecule, Materials and Medicine into the Manufacturing and Modelling space.
These themes focus on developing new methodologies for the asymmetric synthesis of APIs, molecules & methods for automated & in-flow generation of targeted drug hybrids & new therapeutic agents.
Advancing the understanding of single-component crystalline materials (SCCMs) and, especially, multi-component crystalline materials (MCCMs) in order to enable improved orally delivered drug products.
Optimising the development, production & use of safe, effective medicines with focus on poorly soluble drugs, personalized, age appropriate medicines & rational formulation approaches with predictive performance.
Enabling a disruptive change in manufacture of drug substances & drug products, through the development & implementation of continuous manufacturing, flow chemistry & end-to-end manufacturing methodologies.