PharmTech: Do you see a new industry trend emerging?Vaughan: New developments in the Asia–Pacific region have been interesting to follow. In 2009, for the first time, most of the world’s bioscience degrees were awarded to people outside the United States, and we are certainly seeing the changes that is bringing about. The explosion of startups, particularly in Asia, is one of the key factors in our expansion of laboratory facilities. Our new laboratory in Singapore supports earlystage product development and late-stage regulatory data demands, so we are able to serve new and established pharmaceutical companies in that region. We expect this laboratory to become a major research hub, in addition to our research locations in the US and United Kingdom. An additional trend is the expansion of microneedle technology, in which we are seeing increased interest. At 3M, we have long experience with this technology and we feel well positioned, with our solid and hollow, microstructured transdermal systems, to meet the new demands for these applications.
PharmTech: What is the most common demand your clients are currently making of you?
Vaughan: Our clients are looking for innovation in drug delivery and new ways to administer their products. Our chief technologies are in the areas of inhalation and transdermal delivery, so we are often called upon to adapt drug products to these methods. The capabilities of both technologies are expanding, and the inhalation market is growing to include larger molecules than before, including proteins and peptides. Inhalation is a promising delivery route for local and systemic drug delivery. The number of transdermal therapies is growing steadily as well. We have created a method of solid microneedle delivery that expands the range of medications that can be delivered transdermally to patients, including vaccines, proteins, and peptides. We also are working on a hollow, microstructured transdermal system that will further expand the range of medications for which transdermal systems can be used.