Carolina Nanoformulation Workshop 2017
Participants of the Carolina Nanoformulation Workshop participate in a hands-on demonstration of nanoparticle tracking analysis.

From March 13 to 17, scientists from industry and academia came together at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy to learn about and to get hands-on experience with the latest advances in nanomedicine at the second annual Carolina Nanoformulation Workshop.

The workshop is a unique blend of classroom and hands-on training that stresses application and participation. It featured 18 speakers and two days of seminars for more than 30 participants followed by three days of practical experience in the laboratories of the School’s Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery.

The goal of the CNW is to provide safe and effective solutions for drug-delivery issues faced by industrial scientists, according to organizer Alexander Kabanov, Ph.D., Dr.Sci., director of the School’s Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery and the Mescal S. Ferguson Distinguished Professor.

“There is no training like the Carolina Nanoformulation Workshop available in the country right now. There is no training like this in nanomedicine,” Kabanov said. “We are teaching industrial and academic trainees how to translate the most recent discoveries in nanomedicine to new therapeutics and better patient care.”

The workshop included six lecture blocks with multiple lectures in each block. Interactive learning modules were made available online to the participants prior to the workshop to facilitate active learning and discussion during the onsite sessions. The online content is also made available for six months after the conclusion of the conference.

Carolina Nanoformulation Workshop 2017 Kazunori Kataoka
Kazunori Kataoka, Ph.D., presents at the 2017 Carolina Nanoformulation Workshop. He is is one of the world’s leading polymer chemists and drug delivery scientists.

Kabanov said that he was pleased with the mix of participants. Trainees came universities such as Princeton University, University of Toronto, Fudan University, University of Nebraska and UNC-Chapel Hill and from pharmaceutical companies such as Recro Pharmaceuticals, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Apurano Life Sciences GmbH.

“We go into great in depth and provide three days of theory in the classroom and two days of experience in the lab. That is why we only offer the workshop to a select group of participants,” Kabanov said. “We are also using innovative education technology tools first developed and adopted by the School for its Doctor of Pharmacy program.”

Eighteen speakers addressed and analyzed key issues relevant to industry scientists and presented nanotechnology-based strategies that have been successful in clinical trials. Kabanov highlighted the participation of the following:

  • Rogério Gaspar, Ph.D., is a pro-rector at the University of Lisbon and a full professor in pharmaceutics who has more than 20 years’ experience in the design and evaluation of nanoparticles and liposomes for drug and gene delivery. He is an international expert in regulatory science and affairs of nanomedicines.“A workshop like this one is very important because you get the best experts together in a room who have experience in translational research, who have actually put products on the market,” Gaspar said. “You get a look at the full span of problems affecting nanomedicine development, not only excellent basic research but also looking at major challenges in translational research.”
  • Kazunori Kataoka, Ph.D., is a professor in the Graduate Schools of Engineering  and Medicine at the University of Tokyo and is one of the world’s leading polymer chemists and drug-delivery scientists. He has made several high-impact contributions in developing nanomedicines for clinical applications, and several of his polyion complex-based nanomedicines are currently under clinical trials.

    “This kind of workshop is very focused on the fundamental and practical topics in nanoformulation,” Kataoka said. “Most of the other symposiums try to focus on catchy topics, but this workshop tries to get to the core science of nanoformulated drug-delivery systems. This workshop really focuses on the important and fundamental elements of nanoformulation.”

  • Peter D. Senter, Ph.D., is the vice president, chemistry and distinguished fellow at Seattle Genetics and leads Seattle Genetics’ chemistry department, which carries out research in antibody-drug conjugate technologies, including the development of potent drug payloads, novel linker systems, conjugation methodology and mechanism of action studies.“There are no other workshops like this one,” Senter said. “To have a workshop that is actually focused on the formulation of nanoparticles and advanced pharmaceuticals is really at the cutting edge; it’s new.”
  • Robert Prud’homme, Ph.D., is a professor of chemical and biological engineering at Princeton University with 15 years of experience in computational sciences in drug discovery and development.  He has a proven track record for developing new ideas and approaches from the concept stage to successful implementation. His current interests include but are not limited to computational pharmaceutical solid state chemistry.

CNW participants received training on a comprehensive body of physicochemical characterization techniques to develop pharmaceutical-grade nanoparticle therapies; thorough analytical characterization of in vivo nanoparticle disposition (biodistribution/pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, PK/PD); and on factors affecting nano delivery to tumors in animal models vs. patients.

The 2017 Carolina Nanoformulation workshop was funded by a N.C. Biotech Biotechnology Meeting Grant from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and by the UNC Eshelman Institute for Innovation. The institute was created by a historic $100 million gift from Fred Eshelman, Pharm.D., and pursues high-risk, high-reward ideas that advance innovation in education, research and health care.

2017 CNW Speakers

In addition to Gaspar, Kataoka, Senter and Prud’homme, the following were the 2017 CNW speakers:

Yuriy Abramov, Ph.D., is a senior principal scientist at Pfizer Inc. with 15 years of experience in computational sciences in Drug Discovery and Development.  He has a proven track record for developing new ideas and approaches from the concept stage to successful implementation. His current interests include but not limited to computational pharmaceutical solid state chemistry.

Valery Alakhov, Ph.D., is vice president of research and development and chief scientific officer at Supratek Pharma Inc. He is a co-founder of Supratek and co-inventor of the Biotransport and SP-MET-X technology platforms. He has published extensively in the areas of oncology, polymer chemistry, drug delivery and nanomedicines and has over 70 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals. His background includes research in molecular biology, organic chemistry and drug delivery.
Dan Anderson, Ph.D., MIT, is an associate professor of chemical engineering and health sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A core faculty member at the Institute for Medical Science & Engineering and member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, his research focuses on developing new materials for medicine. Presently, he and his lab are researching the use of nanoparticles that can deliver tumor reducing RNAs to cancer cells.
Andrea Armstead, Ph.D., is a field applications scientist for Precision Nanosystems, Inc., a company that specializes in rapid, reproducible production of nanoparticles which enables precise control over particle size and composition. Armstead brings diverse expertise in nanoparticle formulation, drug delivery and toxicology and has authored a number of publications in this field.
William A Banks, M.D., F.A.C.E., is associate chief of staff of research and development at the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System and a professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine. His main interests relate to the blood-brain barrier and the roles that it plays in physiology, brain-body communications, disease states, and drug delivery. He is the author of over 480 non-abstract publications in this and related areas.
Rahima Benhabbour, Ph.D., is a research assistant professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Her research focuses on the development of novel delivery platforms and polymer-based devices that can treat or prevent a disease. Her work combines the elegance of polymer chemistry with the versatility of engineering and formulation development to design and fabricate efficient and translatable delivery systems for cancer treatment and HIV prevention.
Tatiana K. Bronich, Ph.D., is a Parke-Davis Professor at the UNMC College of Pharmacy and the do-director at the Center for Drug Delivery and Nanomedicine. Her expertise includes self-assembling polymer materials and applications of these materials in nanomedicine.

Wenlei Jiang, Ph.D., is a senior science adviser in the Office of Research and Standards/Office of Generic Drugs/Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Her regulatory research focuses on bioequivalence standard development for generic complex drug products containing nanomaterials, solid oral modified release drug products, and narrow therapeutic index drugs, as well as post-market surveillance of generic drugs.

Judy Riffle, Ph.D., is a professor of organic polymer chemistry at Virginia Polyptychnic Institute and State University. Her research focuses on the synthesis of functionalized homopolymers and block copolymers and their activity in metal complexation and particle formation; and in understanding structure-property relationships in thermoset copolymer networks.  Currently, she mentors both Ph.D. and undergraduate students.
José Luis Santos, Ph.D., is a scientist in the drug delivery and device development group at MedImmune with a decade of experience in polymer chemistry, formulation of polymeric nanoparticles for drug delivery and immunotherapy, and device engineering.
Jenny Ting, Ph.D., is a William Rand Kenan Full Professor of Genetics and the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Immunology Program Leader. She is also the Director of the UNC Center for Translational Immunology and the co-Director of the Institute of Inflammatory Diseases. She has pioneered new areas of innate immunity, most notably reporting the first study describing the entire human NOD-like receptor family in her work on the immune plexins and semaphorins. Her work combines fundamental innate immunology with molecular biology and she has reported extensively on immunity in infection, autoimmunity, cancer and metabolic disorders.
Alexander Tropsha, Ph.D., is the K.H. Lee Distinguished Professor in the division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry at UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. He is an expert in the fields of computational chemistry, cheminformatics and structural bioinformatics who works to develop new methodologies and software tools for computer-assisted drug design.
Andrew Wang, M.D., is an associate professor and director of clinical and translational research in the Department of Radiation Oncology at UNC-CH. His expertise includes preclinical development, evaluation and clinical translation of nanoparticle therapeutics to improve cancer management.
William Zamboni, Ph.D., Pharm.D., is the director of UNC GLP Bioanalytical Facility and the director of the Translational Oncology and Nanoparticle Drug Development Initiative Lab at UNC-CH. He is also the co-director of the North Carolina Biomedical Innovation Network for GLP toxicology and pharmacology studies of small molecule and nanoparticle agents.



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