Nearly 1000 presentations, including poster sessions, were made during the five-day event. Presentations examined the route of administration (e.g., oral, pulmonary, ocular), delivery systems (e.g., encapsulation, device-based, implantables and injectables, lipid-based, particulate, PEGylation, responsive, and transdermal), materials (e.g., excipients, nanoparticles, novel materials for controlled release, polymers), and molecule types (e.g., nucleotides, peptides, proteins, small molecules, and vaccines) addressed in controlled-release formulations.
This broad range of subjects reveals the growing importance of controlled release in pharmaceutical companies' product strategies. In speaking with a scientist from a Big Pharma company, he pondered on how the role of controlled-release systems has evolved."We used to think of controlled release almost as an afterthought. As a product neared the end of its life cycle, developing a controlled-release formulation was a way to extend the life cycle of an [immediate-release] drug. That still may be true, but we now evaluate and consider controlled-release applications much earlier in the product's life cycle and development and see it as an important part of our product strategy."
As drug molecules become more complex and the need to service distinct patient populations increases, controlled-release formulations become an attractive option. Last month's meeting shows that the tools for better understanding and modifying the release characteristics of drugs are meeting that challenge.
Patricia Van Arnum is a senior editor at Pharmaceutical Technology, firstname.lastname@example.org