MiCRA and IT Tallaght rapid technologies are applicable to the bioanalytical sensing of molecules and microorganisms directly or indirectly in the diagnostics, pharma and food sectors. The rapid sensing technology can also cater for an emerging need in the bioconversion industry for screening of key organisms, valorisation of side streams and the rapid and in-line quantification of end products. The National Pharmaceutical Education Centre (NPEC) on campus has a bioprocess technology centre, fermenters (2 to 100 litre) with media preparation and harvest tanks and with full PLC control and with CIP (cleaning-in-place) and SIP (steam-in-place) capability; Ultra and micro cross-flow filtration capability; Downstream processing unit for large-scale protein/metabolite purification and analysis; lyophillization unit; product formulation technology (creams / liquids / tablets / powders); centrifuge with dissolution, rheometry, granulation, sieving and tableting. The facility supports numerous in-house operator training, professional development and research and development programmes.

Rationale

The pharma industry has a huge footprint in Ireland with over 120 overseas companies having plants in Ireland, including 9 of the 10 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. As a result, Ireland is now the largest net exporter of pharmaceuticals in the EU accounting for over 50% of all exports from the country. The industry has a requirement for in-line sensor technologies that allow in process monitoring and quality control. To date, MiCRA has worked both with individual companies in this field and through the PMTC cluster and advisory groups.

Opportunities

Through MiCRA, companies can readily access the NPEC pilot plant and associated bioprocessing facilities alongside the process analytical technology (PAT) laboratory for drug characterisation and testing.
New APIs and other pharmaceutical ingredients are constantly being developed by the industry. Rapid sensor development available at MiCRA can enable quantitation of electroactive drug actives, stability and purity testing and can be used to mimic metabolism with associated metabolite detection.