iSpeak Blog

Productivity & Innovation - Women in Pharma Ireland Affiliate Roundtable

Liz M. Dooley, MSc
Women in Pharma

A roundtable session coordinated by the Women in Pharma Ireland Affiliate Team delved into productivity and innovation in advanced pharma manufacturing: Latest trends/breakthroughs. The roundtable was part of the Ireland Affiliate Annual Seminar on those same themes held on 26 April in Cork.

More than 200 attendees took part in the roundtable. I facilitated the roundtable discussion, which included panel participants from Janssen Sciences Ireland, GSK, Eli Lilly, and BioMarin.

ISPE Women in Pharma Ireland Affiliate Roundtable Event
Women in Pharma participants and panelists at the Ireland affiliate Back row: Jim Breen (J&J), Alice Redmond (CAI). Front row (l to r): Gillian Morgan (Janssen), Lorraine Reynolds (Janssen), and Liz Dooley (J&J).

Roundtable Topics

Ann Bard, Design Lead, GSK, Global Capital Strategy and Design, shared her experience on how advanced technologies such as digitalization of manufacturing assets can help accelerate delivery of new asset bases, and can help create faster project handovers and greater stakeholder engagement.

The audience expressed strong interest in the influences of virtual reality and augmented reality. All panelists had notable examples of how both are being used to modernize training activities. Regina Mulhall, Senior Director Quality, Janssen Supply Chain, Ireland, shared how Janssen is using 3D modeling to facilitate facility design, which is helping to improve understanding of suite layouts and remote training of technical staff.

Many third-level academic staff were also in attendance at the seminar and posed questions to the panel around the pace of technology change in industry against university curricula. Susan O’Brien, Process Analytics Lead of Manufacturing Sciences and Technology at BioMarin outlined the importance of close collaboration between academic institutes and industry to ensure course content is relevant to industry needs and technology advancement. The panelists gave examples of industry contributions to course content and the importance of industry placements. These placements are a real game-changer for student and industry groups.

Main seminar topics

The main seminar included a number of interesting and informative presentations on flexible API supply technologies. Regina Lynch, Associate Consultant Engineer, Eli Lilly and Company, was a presenter on this topic, focusing on continuous small volume API processing. During the panel discussion, Regina gave further insight into the technical challenges experienced and how her organization worked to overcome those.

The panel takeaway was that the convergence of technologies is what makes the difference, which echoed the perspective of the seminar keynote speaker, Dr. Joanne Walshe, Technical Lead for GlaxoSmithKline Global Pharma Manufacturing Supply Chain.

ISPE Women in Pharma - Ireland Affiliate Roundtable Presentation
Roundtable panelists (r to l): Susan O’Brien (BioMarin), Regina Mulhall (J&J), Ann Bard (GSK), and Regina Lynch (Eli Lilly). At the podium: Liz Dooley (J&J).

Growth of Ireland Women in Pharma

The Ireland Affiliate’s Women in Pharma is relatively new and has already seen strong commitment from ISPE members. “We are role models and we need to take a chance on youth and young women,” said Sue Cooke, Director, Strategic Consulting, DPS Group, Secretary of the Ireland Affiliate, and member of the International Women in Pharma Committee about the launch of the initiative in Ireland. “We need to identify talent early and become more involved with schools and colleges and tell them what engineers working in the pharma industry do—the opportunities that are there. We want to grow the Women in Pharma initiative, we want to encourage women to become involved with ISPE and establish a mentoring programme. We also intend engaging with other Women in Business and technology groups.” [1]

Learn More About Women in Pharma


  1. McGrath, Brendan. “Women in Pharma Initiative Launched.” Women Mean Business, 15 December 2017.