SSPC to build €1.9m pharma manufacturing facility at UL

24 Aug 2020

Image: © lightpoet/

The co-director of the pharmaceutical research centre has received an SFI Infrastructure Award to build a facility with next-generation process equipment.

Prof Gavin Walker, the Bernal chair in pharmaceutical powder engineering at University of Limerick (UL), has been awarded more than €1.9m to develop a national advanced drug product manufacturing facility. Walker is a co-director of SSPC, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) pharmaceutical research centre based at the Bernal Institute in UL.

To date, Walker has been awarded a total of €26m in grants as a principal investigator on 35 different research projects in process engineering and advanced manufacturing. Today’s funding announcement, an SFI Infrastructure Award, will give SSPC researchers access to a new on-site research facility.

The manufacturing facility will boost industry collaboration and support SSPC research projects with partners across industry and academia. SSPC said that it will “help bridge the challenging engineering and scientific gap for process scale-up from lab to manufacturing”.

“The move towards continuous manufacturing will be the next major innovation for the pharmaceutical industry and it’s essential that the Irish pharmaceutical manufacturing industry moves towards continuous processing to remain globally competitive,” Walker said.

“The implementation of continuous pharmaceutical processes is an opportunity to substantially reduce costs, reduce manufacturing times and bring medicines quickly to market, improve product defects and encourage innovation by an integrated manufacturing approach.”

SSPC to get access to ‘next-generation’ equipment

Since SSPC was set up in 2007, it has looked at the whole pharmaceutical production chain “from molecule to material and formulation of the medicine”. Today its expertise extends to manufacturing and modelling themes.

Alongside its host institution, UL, SSPC’s academic partners include Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, University College Cork, NUI Galway, Maynooth University, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Waterford IT.

The new facility will provide SSPC with next-generation process equipment, helping the centre expand its capabilities in advanced research and the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Lisa Ardill was careers editor at Silicon Republic until June 2021