UL creates world’s first best-practice web portal for pharma

9 Nov 2009

The Tanaiste has unveiled the world’s first pharmaceutical best-practice portal for compound crystallisation which will operate out of the University of Limerick and is designed for use by the pharmaceutical industry and academic institutions.

The website has been developed through the Solid State Pharmaceutical Cluster (SSPC). The SSPC, which is led by the University of Limerick (UL), is a collaborative research group of Ireland’s leading pharmaceutical companies and third-level institutions, with Government funding being provided through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).

Group of researchers

The SSPC brings together leading researchers from: Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli-Lilly, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Roche, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Clarochem, Covidien, and Schering Plough, together with counterparts from University of Limerick, University College Cork, NUI Galway, Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin.

“This is a landmark day for scientific research in Ireland and, indeed, on a global scale,” the Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan TD said.

“The development of this secure online facility enables unprecedented collaboration among a range of industrial and academic partners, towards establishing best practice in the field of pharmaceutical compound crystallisation.”

Springs up from need

The Best Practice Crystallisation (BPX.ie) site is the result of a need highlighted by industrial partners to create a collaborative environment which would focus on best-practice techniques. This in turn will assist key research efforts, while supporting the sector locally within Ireland in its strategy to move up the R&D knowledge and value chain.

“This proactive and visionary arrangement illustrates the collective determination among Ireland’s scientific community to pool their resources and expertise towards achieving far-reaching outcomes for the benefit of Ireland, and for the stakeholders involved,” said Coughlan.

“For me, this unparallelled level of engagement signals the genesis of a new kind of multi-sectoral partnership which, it is hoped, will be adopted by other disciplines in the wider science and engineering arena, both here and internationally.”

The pharmaceutical industry in Ireland employs more than 20,000 people and last year accounted for €44 billion in exports or 51pc of exports to the economy.

The aim of a web portal of this kind is to provide R&D support for the pharmaceutical industry and academic research by developing strategic partnerships and sharing best-practice techniques.

The Solid State Pharmaceutical Cluster was established by Science Foundation Ireland in 2007 under their Strategic Research Clusters Programme with funding of €6.97 million. The SSPC currently comprises 39 researchers.

By John Kennedy

Photo: The Best Practice Crystallisation site is designed for use by the pharmaceutical industry and academic institutions and will operate out of the University of Limerick.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years