Dublin pharmaceutical R&D company, APC, is using revolutionary technology to help pharmaceutical companies bring new medicines to the market quickly.

Its technology enables disease-fighting “miracle molecules” to be turned into medicines that can be mass-produced in pharmaceutical plants.

According to APC’s CEO and co-founder, Dr Mark Barrett, this dramatically speeds up the release of new medicines.

“We can reduce the development timelines from five years to one year, and, in some cases, to just several months,” he said, adding that his company is working on medicines for HIV, cancer, respiratory disorders, and other life-threatening conditions.

The four-year-old process-research company now lists eight of the world’s top 10 pharmaceutical companies as customers, as well as five of the top 10 biotech companies.

It employs 62 and has a research team that includes 50 PhDs. APC is seeking 32 more staff.

This year, it opened a new, 6,000 sq metre laboratory in Cherrywood Business Park, and announced plans to recruit 100 staff over the next two years to grow its revenues to €50m by 2020.

APC was set up in the teeth of recession, in 2011, when Dr Barrett and Prof Brian Glennon, from the UCD School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering, discovered ways to accelerate the development of medicines.

They began offering these to Irish-based companies.

Following a recommendation, Dr Barrett and Prof Glennon flew to the US to meet the parent company of an Irish-based client. They signed a significant agreement with a global leader in the pharmaceutical sector and began hiring.

The strategy was to provide not just the process, but also to back it up with a world-class team of highly qualified research personnel, says Dr Barrett, explaining that APC had identified an opportunity to provide process-research and process-innovation services to the pharmaceutical industry.

“We have developed a market which did not exist before — in the past, pharmaceutical companies would try to internalise all of these activities themselves, but we developed approaches and technologies that helped them accelerate this process,” he says, explaining that APC is the only company in the world with the technology to provide this service.

APC is self-funded. Since 2012, it has been achieving annual growth of over 120%.

Its single-largest market is the US, which accounts for 50% of turnover, while Europe accounts for 30%, and Ireland 20%.

This year, APC should maintain its growth rate, but Dr Barrett expects this to have escalated by 2018.

Future plans will involve setting up a sales-and-marketing office in Singapore, which the company sees as a gateway to the Asian market.

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