Third-level sector targets €50bn pharma industry with web portal

30 May 2012

A new web portal aimed at providing a one-stop shop for services from higher education bodies to the pharmaceutical industry has been launched. The pharmaceutical industry in Ireland accounts for €50bn worth of exports every year.

Launched today by Finance Minister Michael Noonan, TD, ATTLAS (Access to Third Level Analytical Services), a web-based portal, is designed to provide the pharmaceutical industry with a one-stop-shop information source detailing all of the facilities, equipment and analytical services available across all of the Irish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

Developed by the Solid State Pharmaceutical Cluster, which is hosted by the Materials and Surface Science Institute (MSSI) at University of Limerick (UL), the portal aims to provide better connectivity between the pharmaceutical industry and the HEIs in Ireland.

The site provides information on analytical service capabilities in the HEI sector in Ireland that are accessible to industry.

So far, the capabilities of 15 HEIs in Ireland comprising 19 centres/institutes have been incorporated in the ATTLAS site.

Enhanced collaboration

“I am sure that the increased engagement facilitated by ATTLAS will result in enhanced research collaboration between academia and industry,” Noonan said. “This can only strengthen the investment offering that Ireland can make for investment from both home and abroad.”

Ireland is home to eight out of the world’s top 10 pharmaceutical companies and six of the top 10 blockbuster drugs are manufactured in the country.

“The pharmaceutical industry accounts for €50bn in Irish exports and employs 24,000 directly and another 24,000 people indirectly,” Dr Mary Shire, vice-president, research at UL, explained.  

“We need to support this important industry in Ireland and we more than have the collective capability to do so as ATTLAS now clearly indicates. The site includes details of 230 individual pieces of equipment incorporating 92 analytical techniques that can address more than 160 industry-related problems,” Shire added.

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