Ireland backs PAT for next-gen manufacturing

By Fiona BARRY

- Last updated on GMT

The University of Limerick is hosting the two-day PAT conference
The University of Limerick is hosting the two-day PAT conference

Related tags Process analytical technology Pharmacology Pharmaceutical industry Innovation

Irish researchers are using Process Analytical Technology (PAT) to find faster, cheaper pharma manufacturing methods, say the nation’s scientists.

At the first annual PAT conference held in Ireland today, delegates heard from the University of Limerick’s Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC) and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology Centre (PMTC).

Attendees also visited Roche’s facility in Clarecastle, Co. Clare, to see how the company exploits PAT research.

SSPC, funded by Science Foundation Ireland and by the Irish drug industry, is a collaboration between 22 companies and nine academic organisations. The alliance works on next-generation drug manufacture by developing innovation ideas throughout production, from molecule synthesis, to isolation of materials and formulation of drugs.

PMTC, also based at the University of Limerick, works on solving technology problems in pharmaceutical manufacturing. The Centre receives €1m ($1.1m) per year from the Irish government, via Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland,​ as well as extra money from pharma companies and public funding.


Process Analytical Technology​ is a way of streamlining manufacturing by measuring Critical Process Parameters – variables such as granulation end points. These can help track deviation from standard production and find places to improve efficiency.

The conference speakers stressed how the global pharmaceutical industry is using PAT research innovations to produce cheaper, better quality medicines.

Patrick Frawley, SSPC, 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​.”

Gavin Walker, University of Limerick, added “The SSPC-PMTC Process Analytical Technology 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.

More than 100 international delegates are attending the conference, which began yesterday, including SSPC/PMTC partners Roche, GSK, Pfizer, Lilly, MSD, Janssen and Abbvie.

Ireland is the second-largest pharmaceutical exporter in the world, with 120 pharma companies based in the country.

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