Andrea Doolan, a Cork-based entrepreneur, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Atlantia Food Clinical Trials Ltd., has scooped the prize for Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2018, at the Women Mean Business (WMB) Annual Awards ceremony, held yesterday at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin.

The biotech, which is a world-class clinical studies research company, providing full service study expertise to the global food, beverage and health supplements sector, was co-founded by Andrea Doolan in 2012. Atlantia works work with 5 of the top 10 global food companies, as well as leading SMEs and artisan food companies that are improving and introducing exciting, innovative food, drink and health supplement products to the worldwide food market.

Ms. Doolan saw off significant competition from some of the best female leaders in Irish business to take home the top accolade.

Speaking of the win, Ms. Doolan said she was “surprised and truly honoured”,

“The women in my category excel in what they do and are at the top of their game – so to have won this award is real achievement for me, and something for which I am truly grateful. I genuinely believe that it’s the people that make an organisation, and we are extremely fortunate at Atlantia to have such a stellar team behind us. So, this award is as much an acknowledgement of their hard work and accomplishments as it is my own”.

Rosemary Delaney, Managing Director, WMB, spoke of the theme of this year’s event which was “A different perspective”,

“There is beauty in a world where diversity, of beliefs, customs and perspectives, are allowed to flourish. Imagine if we were all the same, if we went about our business with similar attitudes, with limited awareness. All it takes is having a different, broader perspective and you suddenly have limitless possibilities.”

Andrea has almost 20 years’ experience in the bio-tech industry. She has a BSc in Microbiology and Higher Diploma from NUIG and was Clinical Trials Coordinator for the Harvard AIDS Clinical Trials Group at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, before returning to Ireland as Clinical Trials Manager with APC Microbiome Ireland, University College Cork. There she played a leading role in the development of Atlantia, fully transitioning the business out of UCC in 2013.

Ms. Doolan went on to describe her approach to her work,

“I’m an advocate of the transformational leadership style. Having experienced it in my early career and seeing how it positively impacted on the performance of individuals and teams, I was determined to adopt the style as my own. I have always firmly believed that you must surround yourself with good people, be open in communications on good and bad news, be clear on goals and expectations and be fair when decisions fall to your judgement. After that, you just need a little bit of luck and the world is your oyster! I’m immensely proud of the Atlantia team!”

Ms. Doolan leads her team from Atlantia’s HQ in Cork, managing multiple clinical sites and an expert team of world-class clinicians, scientists, research nurses, dieticians, nutritionists and operations personnel. The team has built an international reputation for excellence in independent qualitative and quantitative research output in Gastrointestinal, Mental & Cognitive, Cardiovascular, Immune & Inflammatory and Nutritional Health areas as well as Healthy Aging and Sports Performance disciplines.

Speaking of the future of her business, Ms. Doolan,

“We are entering a most exciting phase for functional food development right now. One of our key investigative research areas is in digestive health, and what we are seeing with pre- and pro-biotic development is ground-breaking.

But outside of the confines of digestive health, the microbiome which constitutes live microorganisms that can help and alleviate physiological conditions ranging from digestive health, weight management, immune health, cognitive (stress/mood) health, healthy aging and sports performance is being pursued by global food, beverage and health supplement companies and is increasingly being viewed as the ‘holy grail’ of diet and health. Consumers are already seeing the benefits of products on the supermarket shelves that are fully effective in tackling chronic issues.

We can expect that the evolution of microbiome research will, in turn, extend to treatments for dermatitis, psoriasis, weight loss, prenatal health, beauty and ageing and that’s just the beginning.

We are thrilled to be working with progressive companies focusing on cutting-edge research.”

Atlantia has achieved 100% sales growth year on year since spin-out from University College Cork in 2013 and today remain a company in a significant growth phase. In 2018, they are focusing on the next level of strategic expansion with plans for their first subsidiary outside of Ireland, located in the USA, well underway. Atlantia has ambitious expansion plans and are currently planning the opening of their first international clinical site in Chicago, Illinois early next year, to service the increasing number of US clients in the ever-growing functional food and supplement markets. This will establish an in-territory, dedicated sales and customer service presence to provide the enhanced level of service that clients have come to expect. This coupled with their growth in Asia and Europe will lead directly to the planned addition of 10 new jobs over a 24-month period.

The judging panel for the WMB Awards 2018 included,

BRENDA JONES, HEAD OF BUSINESS CARE, THREE
TARA DOYLE, PARTNER, MATHESON
PATRICIA MONAHAN, MANAGING EDITOR, NEWSTALK 106-108fm
MARGOT SLATTERY, COUNTRY PRESIDENT, SODEXO IRELAND
MARTHA RYAN, HEAD OF HR, BOOTS IRELAND
ROSEMARY DELANEY, MANAGING DIRECTOR, WMB

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