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By: Bart Hens

hens_photoLanding on the 13th of November in Denver, I went directly to the conference center to join the opening of this year’s AAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition. It was going to be my third AAPS Annual Meeting in a row. The reason for coming back every year is due to the fact that this meeting is quite unique in bringing all kinds of pharmaceutical scientists together from around the world, which creates interesting opportunities to network and socialize with some many people who are experts in your field of interest. Moreover, I was really looking forward to this year’s event since I was selected to give an oral presentation regarding open business models applied in industry to create innovation and to boost research and development in general. Although I missed the opening lecture, the reception afterward was a good reunion with a lot of my colleagues. Due to the jetlag, I decided to go early to bed.

The next day, I attended Capsugel’s session on picking the right formulation strategy for your poorly soluble compound. This was a really cozy (limited capacity) and interesting session that gave me some new perspectives for my research purposes. Afterward, I joined the symposium In Silico Modeling and Predictive Dissolution for Accelerated Oral Drug Development’, which emphasized the fact that biorelevant dissolution testing coupled with PBPK modeling is an interesting approach to predict the in vivo outcome of a drug in an early stage of oral drug development. This strategy could help us to optimize time- and cost-saving research. Ending the day was done by hanging out with my colleagues and playing some games in the fun zone!

On Tuesday I went for a swim early in the morning to get myself up for my presentation, which was scheduled in the Career Zone. My talk was going to teach people why it is so important to share data and information among companies in order to learn from each other and to let the company grow in an exponential way. This open mind of data sharing (i.e., open business models) has already resulted for several companies in more innovation and outstanding research and development. I received a lot of positive feedback about my lecture. In the afternoon I attended the Oral Absorption focus group townhall to watch the award winners presenting interesting data regarding their Ph.D. research. Congrats to Alex Yu, recipient of the Oral Absorption Focus Group Graduate Student Award!

During the last two days I spent a lot of time watching posters that were presented by students of the European OrBiTo project. The new concept of using TV screens instead of paper versions was interesting to look at (especially the microphone!). The time of presenting, however, was too limited which gives the presenters and audience not enough time to cover all aspects of the research findings. Nevertheless, I loved the concept and had some great talks with new people with interesting research.

In general, I am a big fan of the annual meetings of AAPS as this helped me to interact with people around the world and back in Europe, I have always some new ideas on my mind to further explore in my field of research. The fact that students are closely involved in these meetings (poster presentations, awarding students for their work) really stimulates the young scientists of today to become more innovative and creative in their work!

Looking forward to next year’s AAPS Annual Meeting in sunny San Diego!

Bart Hens initiated his Ph.D. at the lab Drug Delivery and Disposition (KU Leuven, Belgium) and contributed to the European IMI project OrBiTo. He focused on intraluminal drug profiling of poorly soluble compounds after oral administration to humans. He will continue his work as a Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan in January 2017 and be working with Prof. Gordon Amidon, Ph.D.