To answer this question, we caught up with Stacey May, director of public outreach at American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) to discuss the new meeting, how it was created, and what can be expected.
What are some of the key themes of this year’s conference?
The entire meeting is dedicated to science, careers, and community. New to the scientific program this year are our Rapid Fire sessions and End-to-End Hot Topic symposia. Rapid Fires are 10-minute presentations, followed by three minutes of questions on novel and unique topics.
These concise Rapid Fire talks also open a world of collaboration opportunities and innovation, possibly between disparate pharmaceutical fields. End-to-End sessions cover a topic across its spectrum.
The End-to-End Hot Topics this year are immuno-oncology: Advancement from infancy to products; and rapid and cost-effective delivery of new drugs to patients.
Attendees can get a comprehensive understanding of these hot topics by following them through all five of the scientific tracks throughout the conference.
The Career Development Committee has assembled sessions for managers and soon-to-be managers, and we have expanded our offerings, including ‘Get Social: Leverage Scientific Communication and Social Media to Build Your Brand.’
Patrick Murphy, an executive coach with 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical science, is leading “The Business of You,” and people are excited about it. As for communities, AAPS has launched 40 new communities based in part on our former focus groups.
These online groups enable our members to engage with each other and discuss not only scientific topics but other issues affecting them as pharmaceutical scientists.
How are these themes a reflection of changes we are seeing across the industry?
As we continued to speak with our members and review our market research, it became apparent that the majority of scientific topics of interest have a chemical component as well as a biomolecular component.
Our members are also asking for enhanced career development programming, increase opportunities for networking, and more in-depth science. We feel this meeting addresses all of these needs.
What is some of the most exciting science coming out of the conference?
PharmSci 360 will have more than 1,600 scientific posters featuring late-breaking research within a variety of sessions.
Research being presented include a targeted therapy for accelerated repair of fractures, chemical stability of naloxone past expiration date, nanoparticles for brain drug delivery, 3D printing technology, and more.
What are some of the key educational tracks and areas in which the conference may not have covered before?
This meeting features five tracks split equally between chemical and biomolecular drug programming.
- Preclinical Development
- Clinical Pharmacology
- Manufacturing and Bioprocessing
- Formulation and Quality
These tracks encompass many of the areas making the biggest scientific impact today and are covered in an entirely new way.
How did the annual meeting evolve into the new conference?
The AAPS Board of Directors, in conjunction with AAPS Leadership, have refocused the association during the past three years to pursue our mission, enact our strategic plan, and most importantly, put member needs at the forefront.
Two pillars of the AAPS strategic plan – to strengthen resources that advance scientific discovery, exchange and learning and to enhance member services – have direct connections to the formation of AAPS PharmSci 360.
As part of this implementation of the strategic plan, the decision was made to forgo both the AAPS National Biotechnology Conference and the AAPS annual meeting and develop a completely new international conference based on the idea that most of the scientific topics of interest have a chemical component as well as a biomolecular component.
PharmSci 360 is a response to the needs our members expressed for in-depth, fresh science; for networking that lets them “find their community”; and for career training and support that helps them move to the next level.
Member volunteers developed this meeting from the ground up based on member feedback. PharmSci 360's small-conference feel and big-conference breadth offer unprecedented opportunities to connect with pharmaceutical professionals in all stages of drug development.