Welcome to the brand new newsletter from APS, your membership organisation. We hope you enjoy reading this and find it informative. We would love to hear your feedback on this newsletter or indeed any aspect of APS at [email protected]

Covid 19

Although we had been ready to launch our newsletter earlier this year, global events have overtaken us all with the emergence of Covid-19 and we decided to delay so that we could update you more fully. Our thoughts are with all of our members during this time, especially if you have been personally affected by the sickness or loss of a family member or friend, or have had your undergraduate training or academic life or business impacted in some way.

It is, however, also a time to be proud of our pharmaceutical sciences world and the difference we make every day through our work on developing new medicines and new vaccines. In this respect we are pleased to share with you a recent survey conducted by the Hever Group of Heads of R&D of Pharmaceutical Companies led by a member of our advisory board, which outlines the many approaches being used by our industry to find an effective treatment for Covid. You might also be interested in the information provided by FIP, RPS and ABPI.

View information from APS members and partners on Covid-19 Pandemic here.
View The Hever Group Survey on the Covid-19 Pandemic here.

PharmSci 2020

Conference Postponed

With the increasing impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our daily lives, the APS board has taken the decision to postpone the 2020 PharmSci conference, scheduled for the 2nd – 4th September 2020 at Queens’ University Belfast. This has been a difficult step to take but we feel it is necessary so that we can provide our speakers, exhibitors, sponsors and delegates with clarity on our plans for the conference. Our annual conference is a key event in the APS calendar, providing our community with a forum to share the latest progress across the pharmaceutical sciences and an opportunity to reconnect with friends and colleagues. The Academy will be exploring alternative ways to achieve these objectives including, for example, on-line meetings and events over the coming months and we will also be in touch over the coming weeks when we have more information to share on PharmSci 2021.

Chair of the Academy

As we enter into a new phase of working and connecting with each other, we also wanted to recognise and thank our outgoing Chair of the Academy, Mark McAllister, and introduce you to our new Chair, Jo Craig.

Mark has been our Chair since September 2017 and has done an amazing job of leading our organisation through exciting and challenging times. Under Mark’s leadership, APS has delivered around 20 events for our members, including 2 major conferences ‘The Science of Differentiated Medicines’ in Glasgow, September 2018 and ‘Pharmaceutical Science in a Changing World’ at Greenwich University, September 2019. Mark has ensured that we have additional events for our student members including our highly successful ‘Industrial Insights’ and has overseen our first accredited institution through our new accreditation process for undergraduate pharmaceutical sciences courses. Mark is also well known for his previous leadership of our Focus Group community, the heartbeat of our organisation. A huge thank you to Mark for his tireless enthusiasm and strategic and practical leadership.

Jo takes on the leadership from 1st April 2020 and has long since been an APS member and, latterly, a member of the APS Advisory Board for several years. Her career has been spent in the pharmaceutical industry at GlaxoSmithKline and more recently in the biotech world. Jo is passionate about the pharmaceutical sciences community and ensuring that we support our members, from students to the more experienced, in being excellent at what we do to bring new medicines to patients. 

Welcome our guest blogger for this edition of our newsletter

Hannah Bachelor

University of Birmingham. 

Despite the emerging challenges of 2020, a new decade nonetheless brings an opportunity to reflect on some of the trends over the past 10 years. Some of the things that have caught my eye include:

Selfies: please see the APS board take on this below!

Accessible 3D printing: – first 3D printed medicine was launched during the past decade Spritam (levitiracetam) tablets, although a brief search informed me that 3D printed eyewash cups were introduced in 1984. Most University science departments make extensive use of 3D printers to support lab work; I have seen papers were people have 3D printed Franz cells and other bespoke items to undertake pharmaceutical science. More recently there have been many examples of the 3D printing community responding to calls for face-masks to help protect those working with patients with COVID-19, including those from within the pharmaceutical sciences.

Podcasts: – A few of my favourites (related to Pharmaceutical Science!)… 

  • The Pharmcast (quite dated but some good episodes)
  • J&J Innovation Podcast
  • DrugPatentWatch

There are also some recent COVID-19 podcasts that are relevant to the pharmaceutical sciences:

Artificial Intelligence (AI): the use of AI to help in the development of new medicines is an exciting and evolving area, there is potential for AI to increase the success rate of clinical testing of new drugs as well as improve adherence to medicines. Dynamic dosing is another use of AI in cancer patients where the technology can modify dosing to levels required on a per patient basis to improve the safety and efficacy of treatment.

Twitter: Please follow and tag the APS to boost the communication with others interested in pharmaceutical science (@APS_PharmSci).

A focus on APS Focus Groups


Each edition of the newsletter will provide a short review of one of the APS focus groups. Each focus group has its own activities and agenda. If you are a member of APS and want to shape your area of science then ask to join a focus group and be part of the adventure! Please also follow the APS on twitter and LinkedIn to ensure you are kept up to date.

The Biopharmaceutics Focus Group has been particularly busy (see Mark McAllister’s recent blog) and also has some really exciting times ahead including writing of a textbook on this topic!

The next event we are planning is on Clinically Relevant Specifications to update on progress and review the current landscape; this follows our previous successful meeting on this topic held in 2017 (see our report found here: Developing Clinically Relevant Dissolution Specifications for Oral Drug Products—Industrial and Regulatory Perspectives).

Well done to all those from the Biopharmaceutics focus group who wrote and published this meeting report! We are also passionate about education and, during 2019, we organised a Biopharm Basics event which provided an overview of biopharmaceutical science for those interested in expanding their knowledge. The event was held in June and attracted 50 attendees with really positive feedback.

APS members have also been involved in the PEARRL project (Pharmaceutical Education And Research with Regulatory Links) www.pearrl.eu The PEARRL project aims to deliver novel bio-enabling formulations and new biopharmaceutics tools to predict in vivoperformance as a means to improve efficiency and cost-competitiveness in drug development.

During 2020, the biopharmaceutics focus group aim to write a white paper to showcase the opportunities and potential within biopharmaceutics and to reach out to other scientists working in related fields. And, finally, there is a plan to write a textbook on this topic! There has been much emphasis within academia and CROs on either drug discovery or formulation of drugs and there is often a gap in translation of discovery to formulation! This textbook aims to provide a background to biopharmaceutics and help guide people from discovery to formulation using biopharmaceutics case studies.

Click here to get involved in your Focus Group!

Topics for our next edition:

 APS goes global

Upcoming events (albeit ‘virtual’)

Update on membership benefits