The focus of this conference is quite unique in that it brings together scientists in two very different industrial sectors: Biotherapeutics and Foods. The common unifying theme being the challenges and progress made in these areas for characterizing complex fluids found commonly in both the sectors, such as proteins.
Biotherapeutics or biologics is rapidly emerging as the next generation of therapeutic solutions for many life-threatening diseases in the area of unmet medical needs. This sector is expected to continue its significant growth over the next decade as rapid development of recombinant proteins and peptides, along with identification of new targeting approaches, leads to augmentation or replacement of small organic molecules with therapeutic proteins. Developing stable formulations with these biological complex fluids comes with its own set of challenges as complex specific and non-specific interactions can lead to self-association, irreversible aggregate formation, and other manifestations that negatively impact physicochemical properties and delivery.
These, in turn, lead to issues in formulation storage stability, high viscosity and associated issues in manufacturing, injectability, etc. Similar to other complex fluids, these biological complex fluids also exhibit rich interfacial and surface properties leading to structuring and interactions with air/water and solid/water interfaces. Understanding and establishing the structure-property relationships in such systems and understanding interactions in complex biopharmaceutical formulations is, therefore, key to designing stable new therapeutic solutions and novel drug delivery mechanisms. However, most of these systems have their unique characterization challenges such as small sample volumes, high sensitivity to any applied shear, external conditions, etc.
Also, it is of primary importance to characterize the microstructure and interactions either in vivoor in environments that very closely mimic the biological environment of interest. The need to characterize and gain physicochemical insights into biological complex fluids/soft matter systems also extends to other industrial sectors such as foods, where proteins are utilized in products and similar insights into the microstructure, rheology and interfacial properties is critical in optimizing food product performance.
This meeting, the third in this ECI series, will focus on bringing together a wide range of multi-disciplinary groups from academia and industry with a view to discussing key challenges, recent developments, key insights and future trends in understanding protein aggregation, rheology and interfacial properties with a specific focus on formulations and products encountered in the biotherapeutics and foods industrial sectors. It is expected that this will lead to significant cross-industry learning and potential new cross-industry collaborations.
Some of the key areas of focus for the meeting will be: