NIBRT: Providing Training and Research to Meet the Real Needs of the Biopharma Industry in Ireland




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Video title: NIBRT: Providing Training and Research to Meet the Real Needs of the Biopharma Industry in Ireland
Released on: August 12, 2008. © PharmaVentures Ltd
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In this latest instalment of the Regional Report, Fintan Walton speaks with Killian O’Driscoll, Director of Projects at NIBRT, the recently created National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training in Dublin, Ireland. Initially funded by the IDA to help finance the building of world-class training facilities, the view is that NIBRT will develop its own revenue stream through its future training and research operations. O’Driscoll points to a tailored training program developed for Pfizer as a good example of the type of training NIBRT provides. It combined training models from two universities, with some developed in-house in collaboration with outside suppliers. Other training clients include Centocor, Eli Lilly, and Wyeth, which have co-developed a joint masters program in engineering and science with NIBRT. Backboned by collaborations with the four key universities in Ireland, NIBRT works to ensure that there is a balance between the blue sky research of the academic institutions to ensure that it is applicable in an industrial context. Their long term strategy is to expand to offer an all-Ireland approach to ensure they are very much a national institution—one they hope will acquire a world-class reputation in the industry for its collaborations in research and training.
NIBRT's mission and working closely with partner.
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to the Regional Report here in Dublin, Ireland. On this show I have Killian O'Driscoll, Director of Projects at NIBRT, which is The National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training . Welcome to the show.
Killian O'Driscoll:
Thank you very much.
Fintan Walton:
Killian, NIBRT is a NIBRT is a recent organization set up in Ireland, where is that fit strategically in the biopharmaceutical industries activities in Ireland?
Killian O'Driscoll:
Well NIBRT is sponsored by IDA Ireland and NIBRT's has three aspects to NIBRT's mission. The first aspect is training, the second aspect is research and the third aspect is to develop world class facilities to house the research and training function. So NIBRT is back boned by the university sector within Ireland. We've four key members of the NIBRT consortium who are the leading universities within Ireland. So it's very much a pulled together the existing resources and create a world class centre of excellence in bioprocessing for Ireland.
Fintan Walton:
Right. So Ireland has already got reputation for manufacturing particularly pharmaceutical small molecule manufacturing, it's increasingly moving towards the biopharmaceutical manufacturing presumably bioprocessing and the skill sets and expertise is a necessary requirement if Ireland is going to continue to attract.
Killian O'Driscoll:
Exactly.
Fintan Walton:
Organizations. so how does it, how does it practically work then? How does it operationally work from a practical point of view?
Killian O'Driscoll:
Well perhaps I'll give you some examples from our training perspective. Pfizer who as you know having a very successful presence here in Ireland and recently Pfizer made a significant announcement that they are going to move more into the biologic space including the biologic facility in Shanbally, in Cork, which we are delighted to be able to support. So very much as part of this initiative we worked very closely with our partners and Pfizer to develop specific training programs, to help up skill, and cross skill and did reskill some of the people within Pfizer who would have had large levels of expertise in the small molecules space but perhaps not so much familiarity in the biologic side. So we have worked very closely with the training department within Pfizer to create a graduate certificate in Bioprocessing for their staff. It's customized to meet their exact needs. It understands their exact tools their exact processes and then it's back boned by the accreditations since been given by the university centre. So it's a good balance for Pfizer.
Focusing on authentic needs of pharmaceutical industry
Fintan Walton:
So you know one of the key things here is that the pharmaceutical industry is a highly regulated industry. So skill sets are one thing, being regulatory compliant is another, so how does that fit within an organization like NIBRT?
Killian O'Driscoll:
What I suppose the key advantage that we would have is that we are currently designing a world class building and that building will be a GMP like building. So that when staff from Wyeth or from Pfizer and other clients come to attend our training it's very much in a GMP like facility. So the training that they will get will be much in hands on, and will mimic the kind of jobs that they would do when they go back on site.
Fintan Walton:
Now the other key thing that we understand by NIBRT is that it's you know obviously as you say it's embedded in the or associated with some of the great universities here in Ireland, so it is an academic component to it which would it actually mean that there is an interest from the fundamental science perspective in an applied context.
Killian O'Driscoll:
Correct.
Fintan Walton:
So what's the purpose there, is that to improve the innovation around bioprocessing?
Killian O'Driscoll:
Well again let me probably best it is to answer your question by giving you an example of a it's fundamental -- the fundamental underpinning of our research is to make sure there is a balance between that fundamental blue skies research by making sure that it's applicable putting them and implied into industrial context. So to give an example, we recently signed a long term research collaboration with Lilly. Lilly, have made a strategic announcement for significant biologic facility Dunderrow in County of Cork and very much as part of that -- of that we are working with Lilly in Cork and in Indianapolis taking the fruits in the results of our fundamental research and applying that in the area of glycosylation of therapeutic proteins and trying understand what causes that glycosylation and how we can minimize that in the applied environment.
Fintan Walton:
Right. So, it's very much back ending into the real needs of the pharmaceutical industry?
Killian O'Driscoll:
Absolutely, correct. The research strategy for NIBRT is very much focused on what are the needs of the biopharmaceutical industry and how best we can reduce the risk, increase yield, increase optimization.
Fintan Walton:
And is NIBRT completely funded by the Irish government or through the IDA?
Killian O'Driscoll:
NIBRT has received initial seed funding from the IDA to addition of over US$100 million. The large majority of that is to fund our capital program [ph]build the building. But the view and the strategy is that in the long-term that NIBRT will develop in to its own revenue stream to support its operations.
Fintan Walton:
Right. So, it will be one will be a centre not just only for Ireland but outside Irelandor is it going to be truly focused to Ireland?
Killian O'Driscoll:
Well certainly the hope will be that we would develop an international representation which would attract clients from across the globe.
NIBRT’' leverage in Consortium model and Collaboration
Fintan Walton:
As well. And the other key thing here is how innovation is changing, one of the key another key factor to the pharmaceutical industry is that technologies always pushing the boundaries and so forth. So how does an organization like keep in tune with that because that innovation is not just happening here in Ireland, it's happening internationally. So how do you back end into that continued evolution of technology and innovation?
Killian O'Driscoll:
Well, I suppose one of the aspects of the strengths that we have is through our consortium model that NIBRT is just not about the organization and the principal investigators that we have but it leverages the strength of our consortium members be it UCD, Trinity College, and Institute of Technology Sligo and Dublin City University because you know have some world class leading researchers and professors and then the long-term strategy for NIBRT is to expand very much and to bring in an all Ireland , an all Ireland approach and to make sure that we are very much a national institution bringing in all the other constituent organizations.
Fintan Walton:
Right and you said you know obviously collaboration with the pharmaceutical sector and the biotech sector is an important part of that.
Killian O'Driscoll:
Absolutely.
Fintan Walton:
And lot of these companies already have a presence in Ireland. But in order to develop your own organization does that require you to go out, out of Ireland and set up collaborations were the centers of excellence are happening in another areas of the world?
Killian O'Driscoll:
No, you are absolutely correct in that, and I suppose we have already that our processes, is already a well established within NIBRT. For example we have a long-term research collaboration with Organon and Schering-Plough, it's predominately based at of oss in the Netherlands. The research collaboration I mentioned previously with Eli Lilly, our researchers are going to spend considerable amount of time in Indianapolis. So I think research and science in general it can't be just a national it's very much an international approach and we are very much part of that.
Fintan Walton:
Right. NIBRT, is in its early stages?
Killian O'Driscoll:
Correct.
NIBRT’' Future plans
Fintan Walton:
Looking into the future and how you are going to build this organization further, what's your view? How is that gonna happen?
Killian O'Driscoll:
Well, I suppose the key one of the key aspects we are doing currently is first of all is to build our building [ph], so that's going to attract a large part of our attention over the next 18 months to 2-years. So the good news there is we are currently going to design phase on the building and then secondly again it's to build our success status and our creditability with industry enhance our training programs such as I've already mentioned the training program we have with Pfizer, our masters program we are doing conjunction with Wyeth to expand these and then secondly from the research to increase our research capability, engage with more collaborations and build on the successes that we've had with Lilly and Organon and other, other industries such as Schering.
Fintan Walton:
Excellent. Well thank you very much indeed Killianfor coming on the show. Thank you very much indeed.
Killian O'Driscoll:
Thank you very much.
Killian O'Driscoll
Director of Projects NIBRT
Killian O'Driscoll (B.Sc., M.Sc., PMP) is the Director of Projects with NIBRT. This role involves the operational management and reporting of NIBRT's key business functions. In addition, the role includes the project management of NIBRT's client relations from business development to project delivery. Prior to joining NIBRT in September 2006, Killian was employed as Senior Global Project Manager with Microsoft European Operations Centre.
NIBRT
The National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) is a world-class institute that provides training and research solutions for the bioprocessing industry in state of the art facilities. NIBRT is located in Dublin, Ireland and is based on an innovative collaboration between University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University and Institute of Technology Sligo. NIBRT is funded by the IDA (Industrial Development Agency) with a mandate to support the development of the existing bioprocessing industry in Ireland and to attract additional bioprocessing companies to Ireland by: training highly skilled personnel for the bioprocessing industry; conducting world-class research in key areas of bioprocessing; and providing a critical mass of multipurpose bioprocessing facilities. In order to create a centre of bioprocessing excellence, NIBRT is developing state of the art facilities. These include a pilot plant to support scale up operations and to enable students to get real time experience in an industrial environment.