SiliconRepublic.com took a look at PDA Ireland’s Visual Inspection event to learn about Ireland’s pharma sector and its biggest strengths.
Ireland’s pharmaceutical stakeholders gathered in Cork recently to learn the latest developments and regulatory changes in the sector.
The event was hosted by the Irish chapter of the Parenteral Drug Association (PDA), a non-profit trade group that shares science, technology and regulatory information to pharma and biopharma companies.
The association held a Visual Inspection event in Cork last month, where speakers shared their outlooks on the industry, the regulatory landscape and tips on product investigation.
PDA Ireland committee member Deidre Tobin told SiliconRepublic.com that one goal of the event was to get bring the industry together and help SMEs engage with top speakers.
“The mission of PDA is really to bring people together in industry and to have that network sharing, that information gathering so that we’re all consistent, we all have the same message,” Tobin said.
Ireland has grown to become a hub of leading pharma companies over the years, with many multinational companies setting up sites here. By 2017, 24 of the world’s top biotech and pharma companies had made a home for themselves in Ireland.
The sector also remains active in terms of merger and acquisition deals. A William Fry report claimed Pharma accounted for 12pc of all Irish M&A deals by volume in 2022.
Ruaidhrí O’Brien, head of UK and Ireland sales at Körber Pharma and a PDA Ireland member, said the country has a “wealth of experience” across various types of pharmaceutical production, such as API bulk and solid dosage production.
O’Brien claimed there’s also been growth in the “liquid fill finish area”, which relates to completed pharma products such as vaccines. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Pfizer confirmed its Irish operations were being used to manufacture its vaccine.
O’Brien also said Ireland has “skilled people” that are in senior levels within companies, which he feels is why existing companies continue to invest and why “we have amazing investments from all the global leaders”.
One speaker at the PDA Ireland Visual Inspection event was John Shabushnig, the founder of Insight Pharma Consulting LLC. He spoke about current and upcoming regulation impacting the global sector.
Shabushnig said he sees the overall industry understanding of what it can and can’t do “continuing to improve”. He also said there is better alignment between regulators and industry now “than I saw 10 or 20 years ago”.
Shabushnig spoke positively about the regulatory landscape overall and couldn’t think of any “big misses” in terms of industry ignoring regulation. But he did note that some developing areas in the industry are “a bit unknown”.
“Advanced therapies, cell and gene therapies, there are some unique challenges on inspecting those products that we’re kind of learning together at this point,” Shabushnig said.
But Shabushnig said there are also “big opportunities” ahead with new tools that can be taken advantage of. One example he gave was using AI for automated visual inspection, which Shabushnig described as a “very exciting tool”.
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