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CRS-IC organises 20th international symposium

The symposium was organised virtually from 24th to 26th February, 2022 on the theme "Advances in Technology and Business Potential of New Drug Delivery Systems”

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The Controlled Release Society – Indian Chapter (CRS-IC) organised its 20th international symposium on “Advances in Technology and Business Potential of New Drug Delivery Systems” from 24th to 26th February, 2022 virtually. The event saw participation from academia as well as industry with 780 confirmed registrations from across the country as well as from the US, the UAE, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.

Dr Parizad Elchidana, President, Executive Committee CRS-IC, and Principal Technical Consultant – Pharma, ACG, delivered the presidential address. Dr Vandana Patravale, Professor of Pharmaceutics, Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai; Vice President, CRS-IC and the editor of the newsletter briefed the audience about the CRS-IC e-newsletter and the e-abstract book. Dr Boyd formally released the e-newsletter and e-abstract book and highlighted the importance of understanding the impact of colloidal structures of the polymers on drug delivery and its outcome.

Invited speakers’ sessions on day one began with a talk by Dr Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, Director, Cancer Biology Research Center, Israel. She gave an insight into the use of nanotechnology-based brain targetting specifically to treat glioblastoma. Dr Nathalie Mignet, Research Director, National Centre for Scientific Research, France, gave a session on the use of physical triggers in combination with drug delivery systems to achieve tumour targetting. Dr Olivia Merkel, Professor, Drug Delivery, LMU, Munich, Germany, explained her research work on pulmonary delivery of SiRNA to fight SARS Cov 2, the most contemporary topic of research. Dr Maria Vicent, Head, Polymer Therapeutics Lab, Spain, discussed the therapeutic potential of polypeptide-based conjugates. Day one also included technical presentations by Naresh Gaddapati and Santosh Manepally from Merck Lifesciences and CADFEM India. The scientific sessions were followed by an interactive student-mentorship session in which mentors like Dr Patravale, Dr Vicent, Dr Sajeev Chandran, Director, Advanced Drug Delivery Research, Lupin and Dr Swati Biswas, Associate Professor, NIPER, Hyderabad, answered the queries of the participants and gave them suggestions and advice.

Day two of the symposium began with a keynote address by Molly Stevens, Professor and Research Director, Biomedical Materials, Imperial College, the UK. Dr Molly showcased her multi-disciplinary research on SPARTA technology, nanoneedle-mediated tissue regeneration and biosensors for early detection of infectious diseases and cancer. Yu Kyong Oh, Professor, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, South Korea, delivered a session on approaches to treat tumours by altering the tumour microenvironment. Wim Hennink, Professor and HOD, Utrecht University, Netherlands, explained applications of polymeric micelles and polymeric nanoparticles in improving the cellular delivery, and bioavailability of various drugs like curcumin. Tushar Kumeria, Fellow, School of Material Sciences and Engineering, UNSW, Australia, elaborated the applications of porous silica nanoparticles whereas Dr Ajay Banga, Professor and Department Chair, College of Pharmacy, Mercer University, the US, gave an overview of drug delivery to and through the skin. The technical showcase presentations on day two were delivered by Dr Michael Caves from Malvern Panalytical and Anita Solanki from ACG-Worldwide. Scientific sessions of day two were again followed by an interactive mentorship session. Dr Banga, Dr Elchidana, Dr Padma Devarajan, Professor of Pharmaceutics, Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, and Dr N Udupa, Research Director, SDM University, Dharwad, guided the students with regards to the expectations of industry and academia in terms of research quality, and technical and soft skills.

On day three of the symposium, Christine Allen, (Vice Provost, Strategic Initiatives/Professor, University of Toronto, Canada), in her keynote address, emphasised on the importance of Artificial Intelligence (AI), specifically machine learning in pharma sciences and formulation development. She also explained the techniques to improve efficacy of nanomedicine in cancer therapeutics. Dr Demetrious Lamprou, Reader in Pharmaceutical Engineering, Queen’s University, the UK, elaborated the applications of 3D printing in therapeutics, tissue engineering and even designing microfluidic chips. Dr Rachit Agarwal, Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, gave insights into the applications of biomaterial carriers in treating inflammatory diseases like osteoarthritis. Dr Mansoor Amiji, Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, North-eastern University, the US, gave a session on applications of non-viral vectors in nucleic acid delivery systems. Lastly, Dr Chandran gave an overview of industrial aspects of complex generic formulation development. Dr Sameer Padhye from Arihant Innochem and Arnabh Banerjee from Gansons delivered the technical showcase presentations on day three.

The symposium also included a poster presentation competition, where 138 e-posters, along with three-minute-video presentations, were made available for viewing throughout the three days of the symposium. The delegates had an opportunity to have online interaction with the poster presenters during these three days. To enhance the engagement of the participants in the virtual programme, points were assigned for visiting the posters, interacting with the poster presenters, other delegates as well as with the speakers.

The symposium also included the “Go Green Drive to Save Planet” adapted by CRS-IC. As a part of this drive, each invited speaker at the symposium was presented with a “Go Green Certificate” and a tree would be planted on their behalf at the Datta Meghe College of Pharmacy, Wardha, Maharashtra. The trees would be the epitome of the ever-lasting bond between the speakers and the CRS-IC.

Dr Bruno Sermento, Principal Investigator, i3S – Institute for Investigation and Innovation in Health, University of Porto, was invited as the Chief Guest of the valedictory function at the end of day three. CRS-IC has instituted a “Lifetime Achievement Award,” and, this year, HL Bhalla, Professor Emeritus and Founder President, CRS-IC received this award for his contribution towards the field of pharma research and towards the establishment of the Indian Chapter of CRS. Dr Bruno announced the names of the winners of “The Young Scientist Award” as well as the winners of the e-poster presentation competition. The “Prof H L Bhalla Young Scientist Award” was presented to Vanashree Chaudhari, ICT, Mumbai. Ukti Bhatt, NIPER, Guwahati, was adjudged as the first prize winner of the poster presentation. The second prize was shared between Dr Shruti Rawal, Institute of Pharmacy, Nirma University & L J Institute of Pharmacy, Ahemdabad and Sneha Das, BITS – Hyderabad. Chethana Maduka, G Pulla Reddy College of Pharmacy, Hyderabad, won the third prize in poster presentation.

Sun Pharma and ACG were the master event sponsors for the symposium. Gansons sponsored exhibitor’s booth, while Merck, CADFEM India, Malvern, ACG, Arihant Innochem and Gansons were tech showcase sponsors.

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