€50m boost for APC's bacteria research
THE ALIMENTARY Pharmabiotic Centre (APC) in University College Cork has been granted €50m worth of funding for research into stomach bacteria.
This will allow it to employ 109 researchers over the next six years. The funding will support research into how bacteria in the human gut impacts on population health, leading to the development of new foods and medicines.
The Government will provide €36m of the award through Science Foundation Ireland while another €14m will come from industry, including the centre's spin-off company Alimentary Health, Kerry Group, Pfizer subsidiary Wyeth Nutrition, Californian medical researchers Second Genome, Trino Therapeutics and Sigmoid Pharma.
It is expected that the APC, a research hub focused on gastrointestinal health and founded in 2003, will also apply to the EU for further funding.
The centre is a collaboration between University College Cork, Teagasc, the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority and Cork Institute of Technology as well as several companies.
Publications from its researchers mean the university is now ranked at number two in the world for probiotics research.
Its spin-off company Alimentary Health has already produced a probiotic health-food product that has had major sales in North America.
"The agriculture sector is one of Ireland's largest and most successful industries in Ireland. Food for health products are expected to have a global value of $176.7bn (€134.4bn) in 2013 and Ireland is uniquely positioned to capitalise on this growing sector," said Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, announcing the award.
"The commercial significance of the APC's research is highlighted by the participation of 12 companies from the national and international food, pharmaceutical, diagnostic and veterinary sectors," he said.
It has now been designated as a national centre for food and medicine research.