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Orlando Blooms for AAPS

Team TFS
Team TFS
aapsSince I was in my mid-teens I have been fascinated by the pharmaceutical development and production pipeline. Obviously, I was into all the usual things a girl of 15 would be into too: riding ponies, fashion, the latest bands and film stars. Not all 15 year olds were lucky enough to have an insight into the world of liquid chromatography (LC) and mass spectrometry (MS) though, were they? From the moment I did my obligatory school work experience in the bioanalytical laboratory of a leading contract research organisation, I was hooked. Whilst my peers were researching film stars, I was researching solid phase extraction and protein precipitation. The reason I am telling you this is because this year I am to attend the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Annual Exposition and Meeting (link to AAPS meeting page), in Orlando, Florida. Amongst the many thoughts that the prospect of attending such a prestigious gathering roused, was a poster that I had of Orlando Bloom (link to Wikipedia) on my bedroom wall at age 15, and how I ended up where I am today.

AAPS Details

Location: Orlando, Florida, USA

Language: English

Release Date: 25 – 29 October 2015

Filming Locations: Thermo Scientific, Booth 1911


The AAPS Cast and Storyline

Other than the location, for which the weather looks great (comparative to the UK), what else can I expect at this meeting? It will be my first time at AAPS, having attended largely biopharmaceutical and MS-focused meetings so far in my career, and I am looking forward to the in-depth program (link to preliminary meeting program) that is on offer. The meeting will kick off on Sunday 25th October after a 4,800-mile journey from Manchester to Chicago to Orlando. First on my agenda will be the opening session, with plenary speaker Jack Andraka (link to personal website) on Sunday 25th October, 4:30 pm, Chapin Theater. Jack is a real inspiration to all budding scientists, having invented an early diagnostic test for pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancer at age 15. He has won numerous national and international awards, was Michelle Obama’s personal guest at the 2013 State of the Union Address, and now continues to work on tackling cancer survival rates and traveling the globe speaking about his work. I wonder what he had posters of on his bedroom wall...

Being new to the Pharma and Biopharma (link to community page) team at Thermo Scientific, attendance at the Thermo Scientific Exhibitor Seminar (link to seminar registration page) will be a certainty. This takes place on Monday 26th October at 9 am in Exhibitor Seminar Room 1, focused strongly on biopharmaceutical characterization. Antibody-Drug Conjugates (ADCs) (link to ScienceDirect pdf article) are hot news in the biopharma community, given their potential to sensitively discriminate between healthy and diseased tissues in a way that other active pharmaceutical ingredients have not managed. The marriage of a hardcore bio-molecular framework with a potent anti-cancer drug payload is one that cannot fail to enthuse. The approach to characterizing these cross-bred macromolecules can be somewhat vexing. Should we analyze them intact and ascertain drug/antibody ratio (link to antibody characterization application note), cleave the small molecule and analyze each portion separately, or should we digest the intact ADC and look at its substituent peptides, some of which will be linked to the cytotoxic payload? I’m looking forward to finding out approaches to this over the course of the conference.

Later that same day, a session on the use of LC - high resolution accurate mass (HRAM) MS (link to planet orbitrap) for quantification of small molecule and protein therapeutics (link to symposium page) has also caught my eye. Being a high resolution mass spectrometrist at heart, I feel that this is a progression that is inevitable for the emerging biotherapeutic market, bringing considerable qualitative gains in both the small and large molecule arenas. The latest member of the Q Exactive family of mass spectrometers (link to product page) is a timely addition, designed for this very purpose.

As with all meetings of this magnitude, I find myself torn between sessions from start to finish, with a horrible clashing of the above session with another focused on Continuous Manufacturing (link to symposium page). This motion from batch processing to continuous processing is revolutionary but practically challenging. Our latest bio-inert, quaternary UHPLC (link to product page) offering could fit perfectly into the modular requirements of Angela Liu’s (link to LinkedIn page) symposium “On the Horizon: The Integrated PAT Control Strategy for PCMM (Portable, Continuous, Miniature, Modul....” This niche environment will require a UHPLC system that can evidence ultimate versatility (link to product page) in biotherapeutic characterization, providing unmatched reproducibility (link to application note) and robustness in a compliant environment (link to chromatography data system (CDS) software page).

At 10 am on Tuesday 27th, a roundtable discussion on the interchangeability of biosimilars (link to FDA biosimilar information page) is scheduled. With speakers from leading biopharmaceutical companies and regulatory representatives, it should be an interesting discussion from both an industrial and clinical perspective.

Company Credits

In amongst the packed seminar timetable, I will undoubtedly find myself at the Thermo Scientific exhibitor booth 1911 (link to AAPS exhibitor information), where I am looking forward to meeting existing and prospective users of our equipment and finding out more about the crucial workflow requirements for success in the blooming biopharmaceutical landscape. At this meeting I am also going to debut my video career, capturing posters and their presenters and any willing interviewees. If you see me holding a camera you should either hide or make yourself seen; who knows, you might become the next Hollywood A-lister…

If you can’t make it to AAPS there will be lots more to come from us post-event; if you can, I look forward to seeing you there!



Additional Resources

Visit these additional resources if you’re interested in the analysis of biotherapeutics by UHPLC or finding out more about AAPS.

Vanquish Flex UHPLC System: 

Biopharma Workflows

Blog posts:  

Peptide mapping
Antibodies and our immune system

Application notes:   

Peptide mapping
Intact mass analysis and glycans


Thermo at AAPS 2015
AAPS site


Also, check out our Pharma & Biopharma Community which is a wonderful resource dedicated to the development and production of tomorrow’s medicines. It features the latest on-demand webinars, videos, application notes, and more.


Do you have any insight into the analysis of biotherapeutics by HPLC/UHPLC? Do you plan to visit AAPS and see us there? If so, please let us know.