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PDA Ireland Chapter

Declan Quinlan

President: Declan Quinlan

MSD Ireland


Thank you for connecting to the PDA Irish Chapter page.

As a registered non-profit affiliate of PDA International; our aim is to serve as a networking forum for manufacturers, young professionals, academia and service providers engaged in the pharmaceutical/ biopharmaceutical industry in Ireland.

The activities of our chapter can be summarised as follows:

  • Provide events and processes to facilitate sharing of best practices, technologies and regulations to meet the tactical and strategic needs of you; our members.
  • Facilitate collaboration with regulators and other representative bodies to achieve alignment and cohesiveness across the industry.
  • Provide a great networking opportunity for you; our members to connect with like-minded professionals, subject matter experts and regulators.

Our success depends on the willingness of our volunteers to share experiences, plan & organise events, engage in PDA interest groups or contribute to future technical reports.

Remember we all face similar opportunities and challenges; our chapter network can strengthen our ability to face these with confidence.

Le chéile tá muid níos láidre (Together we are stronger),

Join today!!!
Declan Quinlan, President Irish Chapter


Thank you to our 2019 Chapter Sponsors

Diamond Sponsors

  • Bioquell
  • Cherwell
  • Elis
  • PMT
  • Source Bioscience
  • Thermal Compliance

Bronze Sponsors

  • Charles River
  • Fraser Technologies
  • Pharmalex
  • SteriTech Limited
  • Veltek

Upcoming Chapter Events


PDA Signature Events




Declan Quinlan

Declan Quinlan
Operations Director
MSD Ireland (Carlow)
[email protected]

Ann McGe

Ann McGee
Managing Director
PharmaLex Ireland
[email protected]

Aidan Harrington

Aidan Harrington
Senior Consultant
DPS Global
[email protected]

Paul Hawkins

Paul Hawkins
Quality Director
Thera Technologies
[email protected]

Sponsorship and Events Manager
Elizabeth Hunt

Elizabeth Hunt
Marketing Specialist
PharmaLex Ireland
[email protected]


Chapter News

David O’Loughlin Shares PDA Europe Annual Experience

David O’Loughlin

Earlier this year, I was honoured to be one of two students awarded a bursary to attend the 4th PDA Europe Annual meeting in the beautiful city of Amsterdam. The theme of this year's conference was "Global Healthcare of the Present and the Future." Having just finished my third year on the BSc in Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Chemistry at Maynooth University, I was keen to see how technology is advancing in an increasingly digital and paperless age.

On the first day, I met the members of the Irish PDA chapter and had an opportunity to see the many stalls from exhibitors.

One of the sessions I especially enjoyed was Derek Duncan's talk on "Ensuring Container Closure Integrity of Gene Therapy Products Needing Deep Cold Storage" Dr. Duncan was from LIGHTHOUSE Instruments who design and develop non-destructive analysis equipment for determining the gas composition of the headspace. Their instruments can determine if CO2 has leached into gene therapy vials during storage on dry ice. CO2 ingress shows that during storage, the vial has been compromised, which could lead to contamination of the product.

The highlight of the conference for me was Jose Castillo's talk on "Low-footprint, Intensified, Single Use Platform for the Production of Viral Vaccines. The team in Univercells have developed 'NevoLine,' a viral vaccine production technology that cuts the footprint of a facility from 5000-10,000m2 to 1500m2 and they estimate the cost per dose will fall from US$1.2-1.5 to US$0.3. In a world facing into a shortage of vaccines with a supply gap for IPV of around 50 million doses/year, any system which can reduce the footprint required to develop these vaccines is extremely valuable.

Other sessions were highlighting the potential for new technology, including one on the implementation of BlockChain technology into the pharmaceutical industry. It was fantastic to get exposure to regulation in the industry. We had been told about the importance of regulation but had no first-hand experience of it. So I found the keynote speeches from the FDA, EMA, MHRA and WHO especially interesting.

I want to thank the PDA Ireland chapter for this wonderful opportunity, and I hope to stay involved with them in the future.


Rebecca Kelly Shares PDA Europe Annual Experience

Rebecca Kelly

I was honoured to be present at the 2019 PDA Europe meeting which took place on the 25th and 26th of June in Amsterdam. Below is a summary of my experience at the event. The first day of the conference began with a regulatory update consisting of information on the most recent changes in the pharmaceutical industry especially in relation to developments regarding the EMA, the FDA, the WHO, and PIC/S. For the remainder of day one and the majority of day two, the event was split into three parallel tracks with different topics at the centre of each track. The options had a wide variety and included discussions on Virtual Reality, Manufacturing Technologies, Robotics in Pharma, Implementing Technologies, Blockchain Technology, Decontamination, Sterilization Technologies, Artificial Intelligence in Pharma, Young Professionals in PDA and Personalised and Precision Medicine. As a biotechnology student, I was immediately drawn to Robotics in Pharma. I also attended the Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence presentations as I believe this will be the future of biotech and Pharma industries, and I am keen to gain additional knowledge on these topics. Throughout the Virtual reality presentations, the speakers conveyed how industries need to update training methods to keep up with evolving technologies. I learned that this is already being applied in the form of E-learning, but more recently, a concept called 'Deep Training' has come into use with the help of virtual reality. This type of training could be used to train manufacturing associates in a controlled manner as there would be no risk of losing product due to simple errors. The trainees would wear virtual reality goggles and carry out tasks in an area that is set up similar to a clean room. The equipment would also monitor the speed at which the user operates at; this has the potential to be very useful as it would make the user more informed and conscious about how many particles they are creating when they are moving in the cleanroom. This option also makes it possible to simulate situations that would rarely happen in the real cleanroom leading to operators being more prepared and confident in challenging situations. I enjoyed this section of the event as it shows how training will become more exciting and encourage more involvement. The speaker displayed how effective this technique is by giving us the following statistics related to different methods of training:

Training Method Percentage of Information Remembered
Reading 10
Hearing 20
Stimulating the activity 90

Next, I attended the Robotics in Pharma talk. During this presentation, we were shown a real example of a robot that could be used in many industries in the future. It could recognise obstacles in its path and re-divert in a safe way to avoid them. The speakers talked about how robotics could eventually take over specific important roles that humans currently play in the industry. As humans create up to 80 percent of contamination in clean rooms, this could be revolutionary. As well as carrying out tasks effectively and efficiently, the robots would free up time for workers to carry out other activities. The final presentations I attended were those on Artificial Intelligence in Pharma. An interesting point that was made in this section was that 'Artificial Intelligence is not always correct, but it is less incorrect than humans.' I found it hard to believe that computer systems could perform tasks that previously required human input, but I now know this is the direction many businesses will be moving towards as there are many benefits to this type of technology. An example of where this could be used in industry is in the visual inspection process. This is a time-consuming task which requires complete concentration from the inspector, so I can see the benefits of this being carried out by a computer system. Apart from the tracks, there were also exhibitions at each break where the newest technologies, methods, and equipment were displayed and explained in great detail.

The PDA conference has opened my eyes to all the new possibilities which are being developed all over the world at this moment. No doubt, in a few years, the technologies mentioned above will be taking over operations in industry and making workplaces more efficient and productive. It was a privilege to listen to each of the speakers as they shared an abundance of valuable knowledge surrounding the most recent introductions and changes to the world of medicine, science, and healthcare. I am so grateful to PDA Ireland for providing me with this fantastic opportunity, and I would like to say a special thank you to all of the Irish delegates who made me feel so welcome to the event and also those who helped to organise the trip. It was so enjoyable, and I loved every second of the beautiful Amsterdam!


PDA Ireland sponsors the Salters' Festival of Chemistry – hosted by Trinity College, May 18, 2019

Salters Festival of Chemistry

The Salters Institute hosted The Salters' festival to promote the appreciation of chemistry and related sciences among adolescent students. The initiative also showcases careers in the chemical and allied industries and teaching field.

On May 18th, 2019 students from 20 schools from the province of Leinster enjoyed an exciting day of scientific exploration at the Salters' Festival of Chemistry, at the Salters Institute, School of Chemistry.

Teams of four 11-13 year-olds represented their school in three chemistry focused experiments and challenges.

Our 2019 Salters' Festival winners were:

  • Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan, Dublin
  • Holy Child Secondary School, Killiney, Dublin
  • St. Leo’s College, Dublin Road, Carlow

PDA Ireland made a charity donation to Barretstown - the official charity partner for 2019

PDA Ireland Sponsor Barrerstown

Biocidal Products Regulation – ‘cleaning’ up the marketplace

Author: John Chewins, BSc, MBS Director, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, Bioquell UK Ltd.

This article is your guide that provides important insights into the new regulations covering bio-decontamination claims and processes in Europe.


PDA Ireland announce Bursary Winners

In partnership with PDA Europe, we have continued our commitment to provide educational development opportunities for students by producing our 3rd Bursary.

This year, we accepted applications to third level students (undergraduate and postgraduate). The bursary included a free ticket to the PDA EU Annual Meeting on 25 - 26 June 2019 I in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and €800.00 towards travel expenses and accommodations..

We are proud to announce the names of our 2019 Bursary recipients: Rebecca Kelly and David O'Loughlin.

Rebecca Kelly
Rebecca Kelly

Rebecca Kelly is twenty years of age from a town called Glenamaddy in Galway, Ireland. She is currently undergoing her third year of study in Biotechnology at the National University of Ireland, Galway. At this time, Rebecca is interning at Alexion Athlone.

Rebecca learned about this opportunity on the PDA Ireland Chapter's LinkedIn page.

She is interested in the industry placement session and desires to learn more about this topic during the PDA Europe (PDA EU) Annual Conference.

David O'Loughlin 
David O'Loughlin

David O'Loughlin is currently completing his third year BSc in Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Chemistry at Maynooth University. In July, he will begin the Human Toxicology student placement programme at The State Laboratory in Kildare, Ireland. David's interests include toxicity, glycobiology, and personalised medicines.

David learned about the bursary from his University's Placement Office, who posted the flyer on the student forum. "I applied because I wanted to take the opportunity to get a feel for the developing world of Pharmaceuticals and to see how some of our in-class material refers to the real world."

He is interested in several sessions at the upcoming (PDA EU) Annual conference as they may assist him in exploring future Ph.D. opportunities.



Key Takeaways from the Annex 1 Conference in Dublin on May 3rd, 2019


Photos & Video

Annex 1, May 3, 2019
Practical Implementation of QRM, June 20, 2019


Exhibit at PDA Ireland Events

Maximize your company's exposure to key decision-makers in the pharmaceutical and Bio-pharmaceutical industries as an exhibitor and/or sponsor at PDA Ireland events.

 Meet potential buyers and take advantage of the opportunity to:

  • Gain access to industry leaders to establish and develop important relationships
  • Get exposure in front of your target audience
  • Showcase new products and services
  • Generate visibility and valuable leads
  • Convert leads into new business
  • Create brand awareness

Diamond Sponsor

(Maximum 3 sponsors)

Per Year

  • A full exhibitors table at all PDA Events (approx 3-4 per year)
  • Company name & logo & weblink on PDA Ireland website
  • Company name & logo on promotional material for PDA events
  • Company name & logo in PDA quarterly newsletter plus 50 word statement
  • 4 x Complimentary event registrations
  • Special thank you by event MC
  • Logo appearance on hold screens during coffee and lunch breaks
  • 6 Social media promotions on PDA social media platforms

Gold Sponsor

(Maximum 5 sponsors)

Per Year

  • Exhibitor table at 1 PDA Event
  • Company logo and name & weblink  on PDA Ireland website (1 month)
  • Company name & logo on PDA promotional material
  • Company name & logo in PDA quarterly newsletter plus 50 word statement
  • 4 Social media promotions
  • 2 x complimentary event registrations
  • Special thank you by event MC

Bronze Sponsor


Per Year

  • Exhibitors table at 1 PDA Event
  • Company name & logo on PDA promotional material
  • 2 Social media promotions
  • 2 x complimentary event registrations
  • Special thank you by event MC


Ireland Member Spotlight

Kevin Smyth

Kevin Smyth

Global Director of Technology and Innovation , Jacobs
Member since 2008
Featured Volunteer, August

President's Message

Welcome back and I hope you all had a great start to 2019. I can’t believe its six months since our first newsletter.

It was a very busy and successful finish to 2018 for the chapter hosting three great events;

  • The first was ‘ Aseptic Processing with a focus on Media Fill Simulations’ – case studies & discussion” on 04th October in the Clayton Hotel, Dublin Airport. This event was    booked to capacity and certainly didn’t disappoint. It had a great diversity of speakers providing excellent perspectives from within and beyond our industry in the form of Tony Gallagher who shared his perspective on training and assessing competency of surgeons – I still haven’t got the list of which surgeons passed his assessments!!
  • Then there was our  “Rise of outsourcing in the Pharma Industry & managing change activities” on 22nd November in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown, Dublin. This event was combined with our AGM  and included a number of break-out sessions which facilitated great sharing, networking and discussion as did the music and drinks reception afterwards.
  • The third event was our Quality Culture Young Professionals event hosted by Sanofi in Waterford. Key note speaker for this event was Dr Katrin Winkler who gave an excellent presentation on “How Culture and Behaviour drive an organisation”. Two of our YP members (the two Shanes!!) facilitated discussions sharing their career experiences and benefits of membership.

Planning is well underway for 2019 with three events in the works in the first half of the year (do visit our chapter page at  or our LinkedIn page for further details).

These events have been selected based on your feedback at the AGM in November.

  • The first event  EU GMP Annex 1  will be held on 3rd May in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown, Dublin. Annex 1 continues to be a key topic of discussion for our industry and the presentations/ discussion topics in this event are centred around responses from a questionnaire circulated to you; our members earlier this year. Ciara Turley from the HPRA will be a keynote speaker at this event.
  • The second is “Implementation strategies for QRM” in the Radisson in Little Island, Cork. Kevin O’Donnell from the HPRA is our keynote speaker and a number of industry speakers will be sharing their implementation experiences followed by a panel discussion.
  • Following on the success of the Sanofi YP event, a similar event is planned in MSD Carlow in May.

Our communication & marketing workstream driven by Elizabeth continues to exceed our expectations. This has led to continued engagement by sponsors allowing us to further invest and improve our events with a number of new sponsors coming on-board for 2019.  Additionally, we have seen very significant growth in our LinkedIn and Twitter presence.

None of the above would be possible without our dedicated committee/ event organising teams who continue to raise the bar to ensure we meet the expectations of our members, attendees and sponsors.

Finally, a very sincere thanks to you; the members of our Irish chapter who continue to contribute to our success and provide us with feedback to ensure we continue to strive to meet and exceed your expectations,

Le chéile tá muid níos láidre (Together we are stronger),
Declan Quinlan,
President Irish Chapter

Thank you to our 2019 Chapter Sponsors