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PODD 2017: Partnership Opportunities in Drug Delivery Conference Agenda Recap

  • October 23, 2017

  • The 7th annual Partnership Opportunities in Drug Delivery (PODD) conference, organized by the Conference Forum, was held October 19-20, 2017, in Boston, providing a strategic-level networking event to facilitate discussions between pharma, biotech, academia, and drug delivery executives.

    Day One, October 19th, Highlights Include:

    1. Dr Barbara Lueckel addresses PODD 2017

      Roche Director Provides a Year in Review: Barbara Lueckel, PhD, Global Business Development Director for Roche Partnering Innovation at Roche, kicked off PODD by highlighting drug delivery milestones since last year’s conference. These milestones included the approval of the first-ever adoptive T-cell therapy and development of the SmartTouch monitoring device, glucose monitoring systems and other connected health solutions.

    2. Dr. Jeffrey Karp Delivers Bioinspirationalist Keynote Address: Jeffrey Karp, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Laboratory for Accelerated Medical Innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, offered insights into bioinspiration and radical simplicity during his keynote address to PODD attendees.
      According to Karp, bioinspiration involves taking a basic idea from nature and improving upon it. Bioinspiration may play a key role in the drug delivery space in the years to come; in fact, Karp has already used bioinspiration to drive the development of a viscous glue designed for use in minimally invasive surgeries.
      Karp also pointed out that bioinspiration has led to the development of another tool that may drive drug delivery innovation – radical simplicity.
      A radically simple approach to drug delivery innovation involves considering all of the steps to foster innovation, Karp noted. With a radically simple approach to innovation, biotech and pharma companies may be better equipped than ever before to achieve the optimal patient outcomes.
      “If you want to help patients, you’ve got to keep things simple,” Karp said.
    3. Viewpoints on Drug Delivery Partnering Panel; Colin Minchom, PhD, FRPharmS (Cordack); Sesha Neervannan, PhD (Allergan); Julia Rashba-Step, PhD (Phosphorex); Robert Bloder (Apotex); Alex Schwarz, PhD (Braeburn Pharmaceuticals); and Aaron Schwartz (Novo Nordisk)

      Needs and Processes of Big and Specialty Pharma Companies: Several big and specialty pharma executives contrasted the needs and processes of their respective companies during a PODD panel discussion titled “Viewpoints on Drug Delivery Partnering.” The panel discussion focused on the following topics:

      • – Partnerships: The ideal partnership meets the needs of all pharma companies involved. Yet finding a partnership that is mutually beneficial for all parties may prove to be difficult for big and specialty pharma companies alike.
      • – Technology: The search for innovative technology is ongoing for both big and specialty pharma companies, particularly in a diverse, rapidly growing drug delivery space.
      • – Speed: Oftentimes, small pharma companies have the ability to get products to market faster than their larger counterparts. On the other hand, small companies generally lack the time, resources and budgets of big businesses.
    4. Camurus Executive Highlights FluidCrystal Technologies and the Benefits of a Multi-Faceted Approach to Partnerships: Fredrik Joabsson, PhD, Vice President of Business Development and Alliance Management at Camurus, discussed his company’s FluidCrystal technologies and its approach to partnerships during a PODD presentation.
      FluidCrystal technologies are based on special combinations of endogenous polar lipids that spontaneously form liquid crystal nanostructures in aqueous environments, Joabsson noted. They are developed at significantly lower costs and risks than other medicines, Joabsson indicated, thanks in part to Camurus’s unique approach to partnerships.
      Joabsson recommended biotech and pharma companies take a multi-faceted approach to partnerships that emphasizes molecules, technology and other innovations. This approach often helps pharma businesses keep things simple without losing focusing on their partnership goals, he stated.
    5. Designing Connected Health Solutions Panel; Kevin Deane (Medicom Innovation Partner, a Phillips-Medisize Company); Sujit Basu, PhD (Shire); Scott Mullen, MBA (Bayer); Paul Upham (Genentech); Michael Meissner, PhD (Sanofi)

      Challenges and Opportunities of Connected Health Solutions: A PODD panel discussion, “Designing Connected Health Solutions to Drive Outcomes,” offered attendees a glimpse into both the challenges and opportunities of connected health solutions.
      Technology will mature much faster than the current drug delivery service and pricing model, said Sujit Basu, PhD, Vice President of Medical Devices and Combination Products and Technical Operations at Shire. As such, biotech and pharma companies must evolve – or risk missing out on opportunities to create and implement effective connected health solutions.
      Discussion topics included:

      • – Collaboration: The decision to collaborate to create and launch connected health solutions may make or break a biotech or pharma company, according to Paul Upham, Senior Principal for the Genentech Smart Device Technology Center.
      • – Data Collection and Analysis: Biotech and pharma companies must collect and analyze data to develop connected health solutions. However, in many instances, these businesses fail to allocate the necessary time and resources to perform deep data analysis.
      • – Patient Centricity: Connected health solutions empower patients to get the support they need, precisely when they need it.
    6. PharmaCircle’s VP of Operations Outlines Emerging Trends in Non-Invasive Drug Delivery: Kurt Sedo, Vice President of Operations at PharmaCircle, provided an overview of the non-invasive drug delivery market as part of his PODD presentation.
      Continued development of non-invasive drug delivery devices across multiple specialties is paramount, Sedo stated. With a needs-based approach to non-invasive drug delivery technology and product development, biotech and pharma companies can establish priorities and create and launch devices to fulfill patient requests.
      Notable non-invasive drug delivery market trends to watch include:

      • Injectables continue to dominate the drug delivery pipeline.
      • Drug delivery is being integrated into drug development.
      • Drug delivery-related deals have been relatively consistent since 2012.
      • Contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) are becoming centers for drug delivery technology and product development.
    7. Drug Delivery Track Presentations: The afternoon consisted of 3 tracks covering drug delivery methods, including injectable  technologies, oral delivery technologies, device technologies, and ophthalmic, transdermal & transmucosal technologies & devices. A recap of the tracks is posted here.


    Day Two, October 20th, Highlights Include:

    1. CEO Keynote Fireside Chat; Roche’s Barbara Lueckel, PhD, interviews Lars Rebien Sørensen, former President & CEO of Novo Nordisk

      Former Novo Nordisk CEO Outlines a Molecular Approach to Drug Delivery Innovation: Former Novo Nordisk President and CEO, Lars Rebien Sørensen, shared his thoughts on the benefits of taking a molecular approach to drug delivery innovation during a keynote fireside chat with Barbara Lueckel.
      During his tenure, Novo Nordisk implemented a molecular approach to drug delivery innovation, Rebien Sorensen said. Novo Nordisk explored ways to improve therapy for patients by studying and testing molecules and matching them with the right delivery technology. Novo Nordisk’s oral insulin is one of the biggest scientific advancements to date, Rebien Sorensen noted.

    2. Harvard Medical School Professor Highlights the Application of Nanotechnology to Address Medical Problems: Omid Farokhzad, MD, Professor at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Center for Nanomedicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, examined the potential impact of nanotechnology-enabled drug delivery approaches for predictive and personalized medicines in his keynote presentation to PODD attendees.
      Nanoparticle technologies will fundamentally change the landscape of biotech and pharma, Farokhzad said. How quickly biotech and pharma companies adopt these technologies may have far-flung effects on their respective industries, as well as patients in a variety of therapeutic areas.
      In the years to come, the development of personalized nanomedicines could transform the biotech and pharma markets too, Farokhzad indicated. He also recommended biotech and pharma companies pursue personalization nanomedicine technology platforms to achieve patient-friendly outcomes.
    3. MedImmune’s Donna French, PhD, responds to a panel question, with Paul Jansen (Haselmeier) and Michael Graffeo, MBA (Insulet)

      Panelists Discuss How to Use a Device Platform Technology Across Multiple Therapeutic Categories: Several biotech and pharma experts provided tips to deploy device platform technology across multiple therapeutic areas as part of a PODD panel discussion. Key takeaways from the discussion included:

      • A holistic approach can be applied to a wide range of medical use cases. With this approach, biotech and pharma companies can explore myriad potential device platform technology applications.
      • There is no straightforward roadmap for fast, effective deployment of device platform technology. Thus, biotech and pharma companies should be prepared to adapt to evolving device platform technology or restart the technology development and implementation cycle as needed.
      • Getting a drug company to invest in device platform technology may prove to be exceedingly difficult. To overcome this challenge, biotech and pharma businesses must continuously search for new collaboration opportunities in their respective markets.
    4. Companies Compare Partnering Philosophies: PODD’s seventh-annual company spotlights highlighted the drug delivery partnering philosophies of various globally recognized brands. Drug delivery partnering philosophies may vary from company to company. However, biotech and pharma businesses that frequently explore collaboration opportunities can find like-minded partners to accelerate and streamline drug delivery innovation.
      This year’s spotlight participants were:

      • Allergan: The Allergan team emphasizes “Open Science,” a model for building its core competencies, research and development (R&D) and pipeline through partnerships. With Open Science, Allergan is focused on internal and external innovation and seeks partnership opportunities to drive drug delivery innovation.
      • Boehringer Ingelheim: For Boehringer Ingelheim, external collaboration is key. The pharma company, which boasts more than 130 years of industry experience, prioritizes collaboration and in-licensing opportunities at research, pre-clinical and clinical stages.
      • Genentech: At Genentech, the company takes a gated approach to assess drug delivery partnerships. The company strives to ensure that its partnerships can help reduce the treatment burden on patients and drive enhanced clinical performance.
      • Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR): NIBR promotes collaboration across scientific and organizational boundaries. It offers a set of tools designed to help scientists connect with one another and provides easy access to research groups to foster drug delivery collaboration.
    5. F. Hoffmann-La Roche Executive Offers a Pharma View of Drug Delivery Technical Development Challenges: Grégoire Schwach, Head of Drug Development at F. Hoffmann-La Roche, provided a pharma perspective of the technical development challenges commonly associated with drug delivery in his PODD presentation. To illustrate his point, Schwach offered a glimpse into ocular drug delivery.
      Finding a convenient and patient-centric method to administer ocular drugs is a major hurdle for many pharmacologists and formulation scientists. Furthermore, ocular drug development often is inefficient, expensive and complicated, Schwach pointed out.
      Collaboration between drug delivery and pharma companies can deliver significant benefits for both types of businesses, particularly when it comes to ocular drug delivery. Together, these businesses can develop a drug delivery environment that promotes “true enablement” and innovative technology, Schwach said. This environment also will ensure drug delivery and pharma companies can identify and address technical development challenges faster than ever before.
    6. BD Medical’s Janice Adkins, MBA, on the Current and Emerging Needs in Oncology panel, with Ulrich Bruggeman (Sanofi US)

      Drug Delivery Needs in Oncology: A group of oncology experts discussed the current and emerging needs of drug delivery in their field as part of an afternoon panel discussion at PODD. Ongoing development and testing of drug delivery in oncology is paramount. Over time, extensive research can help biotech and pharma companies determine the best ways to approach drug delivery in oncology, leading to safe, effective treatments. Notable panel discussion topics included:

      • – Patient Adherence: Approximately 24 percent of patient adherence failure occurs due to forgetfulness, Declan Reilly, Section Head for Device Engineering and Device Development PTDE-D at Roche, told PODD attendees. As such, mobile applications and device trackers alone won’t necessarily “shift the needle” with patient adherence to oncology treatments, Reilly noted.
      • – Subcutaneous Formulations: The shift from intravenous to subcutaneous formulations has been a “game-changer” in oncology, according to Andrew Yee, MD, Medical Oncologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center.
      • – Large-Volume Injectors: State-of-the-art long-term injectors represent a “promising technology” for oncology, said Janice Adkins, Associate Director of Marketing at BD Medical. In fact, many ready-to-go injectors enable patients to press a button to administer an oncology treatment over a set time frame.
    7. Direct-to-CNS Delivery: Central nervous system (CNS) treatment experts examined CNS drug delivery device and chemistry technologies – and lessons learned from them – during a PODD panel discussion.
      In some instances, intravenous or oral CNS drug delivery is insufficient because certain peptides and nutrients cannot surpass the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Fortunately, direct-to-CNS delivery offers a way to circumvent the BBB is to administer drugs directly to the intraventricular, intracavitary or interstitial system.
      Conversely, flooding the brain with an important therapeutic is unsafe. Conjugation chemistry and device-mediated approaches are being studied extensively, but additional research needs to be done to ensure adequate BBB penetration with direct-to-CNS delivery.
      “I don’t think we have all the answers, but I think we know what doesn’t work already,” said Mikhail Papisov, PhD, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School.
    8. Addressing R&D Challenges using Drug Delivery Technologies panel; Ann Daugherty, PhD (Genentech); Kapil Gupta, PhD (Biogen); Evan Thackaberry, PhD, DABT (Ra Pharmaceuticals); Advait Badkar, PhD (Pfizer); Marianne Ashford, PhD (AstraZeneca); Marian Gindy, PhD (Merck)

      Scientific Leaders Discuss the R&D Challenges Associated with Drug Delivery Technologies: During the final PODD panel discussion, scientific leaders evaluated the R&D challenges of drug delivery technologies across immunology, infectious disease and other therapeutic areas.
      Drug delivery technologies often differ based on the therapeutic area. Yet common R&D challenges related to drug delivery technologies plague biotech and pharma companies across many therapeutic areas, and these problems include:

      • – Adherence: Ensuring patients adhere to a drug delivery protocol can be difficult, particularly for patients who are asked to self-administer treatments at home.
      • – Lack of Collaboration: Sometimes, medical researchers and practitioners fail to collaborate with one another, which leads to information silos that slow down or prevent drug delivery innovation.
      • – Safety Concerns: The administration of drugs to the back of the eye or other tough-to-reach areas raises safety concerns, especially in relation to the development and testing of a new treatment.
    9. Drug Delivery System (DDS) Technology Soapbox Recap: The session allowed for entrepreneurs, university researchers and others to discuss their platforms. A recap of the soapbox is posted here.

    PODD 2018 takes place at the Westin Copley Place, Boston, on Oct. 17 and 18, 2018. Mark your calendars!