Growing a Global Presence with a Continued Focus on Life Sciences Facilities

February 16, 2023PAO-02-23-PATV-03

On the Road to Ireland road trip campaign, Cathal Farrelly, Managing Director, European Life Science Projects at Arcadis DPS Group, speaks with Nigel Walker about the company’s expansion in the United States and Europe. Watch the full video or read the transcript below to learn about the Arcadis DPS Group's venture into pharma 4.0 and novel therapies, and how it designs new facilities to meet those needs.

Nigel Walker (NW): Talk to me about some of the trends that are going on with the company and some of the characteristics that build the culture around DPS.

Cathal Farrelly (CF): If you look back 10 years ago, we were very much Ireland-focused, and the vast majority of our turnover was in Ireland. We set a goal to ourselves that we wanted to become a global company. So we wanted to get to a stage where we had a third of our turnover in Ireland, a third in the U.S., and a third in continental Europe. 

As you may be aware, in 2010, we acquired Biometics in the U.S. That really was the anchor, or the foundation, for success in the U.S., and we've grown significantly there with our clients. And on the European side of things as well, in terms of growing outside of Ireland, the focus has been on continental Europe. We've opened an office in Switzerland, and we've done a combination of organic growth. And we also want to try and build on that now with an acquisition in Switzerland as well to help have that localization.

NW: How is DPS handling for pharma 4.0?

CF: We are currently doing a number of projects with our clients in the pharma space — interestingly enough, more on the generic pharma end of tablet production — investing in all the end-of-line devices and being able to get the real-time data back from the packaging, filling lines, etc. We had a partner company named Galera, so we're very focused on that area, as well as our own SMEs internally within DPS as well, to allow us to be able to bring the best technology, and understand the technology and the challenges that are there, to our clients. And also working with clients on early stage of facility. So, a lot of these things need to be really brought to the fore at the early conceptual initiation stage of the project. Making sure that we've got the right people — our SMEs, consultants that are talking to the client — making sure that the right decisions are made early in the project. This is to realize the huge opportunity of Industry 4.0.

NW: If you look back, and then you look forward, how would you say DPS has made the biggest impact to the future of healthcare here in Europe?

CF: For DPS, it's about us remaining focused on the life science sector, number one, ensuring that we continually invest in the best people, and making sure that we've got the best people available for our clients to work on the early feasibility in concept stages. Those SMEs and consultants are highly accomplished. We invest a lot in their training and ensuring that they get out to the conferences, they keep abreast of technology, so that we can impart that knowledge base to our clients.

NW: What does the rest of the year look for you? Is there anything big and exciting that's going on for the last few months of the year? What are you planning?

CF: Some of the most exciting projects that we're doing at the moment are around novel therapies, both in the U.S. and in Europe, and we're currently being commissioned to design a very large CAR-T facility in the Netherlands. The design is just about completed; we're in construction. And that's a fantastic facility to be involved in, in terms of novel therapies.

NW: I've noticed that the CAR-T investments now, the precision medicine, and personalized medicine really take a tremendous amount of engineering.

CF: They’re not like a typical biotech facility. The whole logistics are really a different level. The number of personnel that they employ in those facilities will be significantly larger versus an API facility. The logistics of the laboratories, the ins and outs, the people, all the testing, et cetera. It's a different type of facility, you know? And it's been a fantastic project to be involved in.

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