PMBRC and SEAM Centres Awarded Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Funding

Two WIT research groups have been awarded joint funding under the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) to develop a long-acting drug delivery technology. The project, called PRIDE (Prolonged Release Injectable Device), will focus on developing drug formulations which will slowly release the target drug over a period of weeks and months. The project is a collaboration between the Pharmaceutical and Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre (PMBRC), the South Eastern Applied Materials (SEAM) research centre (both at WIT) and a number of Waterford-based general practitioners.

Dr. Peter McLoughlin, Principal Investigator of the PMBRC and leader of the research team, explained the background to the project. “There are many chronic medical conditions where patients are on medication over prolonged periods of time. The effective treatment of these conditions is dependent on the patient consistently taking their medication as directed by their doctor – something which many fail to do for a variety of reasons. If a GP could administer a dose to the patient which would slowly release the drug over a period of weeks, or even months, it would greatly aid in the treatment of their illness. In collaboration with the GPs working on this project, we have identified one specific condition which is not adequately controlled with existing therapies which we plan to target”.

The project will focus on laboratory-based experimentation in the first instance and will not involve human subjects. However should the results of the initial phase be successful, further work to develop and commercialise the technology is planned. Two research scientists will be hired for the duration of the 12 month project. This is the first time that either the PMBRC or SEAM have been awarded SFI funding and is a major milestone in the development of the centres, building upon their existing research competencies in drug delivery and biomaterials.

Dr. Peter McLoughlin receives TIDA Award on behalf of the PMBRC and SEAM. Left to right: Dr. Willie Donnelly, Head of Research and Innovation WIT; Mr. Seán Sherlock, Minister for Research and Innovation; Professor Mark Ferguson, SFI Director General; Dr. Peter McLoughlin, Principal Investigator, PMBRC