LIVE FROM CPHI: Pharma Awards winners drive biggest pharma innovations


Annual awards showcase outstanding developments and innovations from the industry’s most dynamic and progressive players

The winners of the 11th annual CPhI live Pharma Awards have been announced at CPhI Worldwide, organised by UBM Live. The annual awards showcase outstanding developments and innovations from the pharma industry’s most dynamic and progressive players.

Open to the entire pharma industry, the awards honour companies that are driving the industry forward with thought leadership, unveiling top pharma innovators to global trade. This year a new category was launched, in addition to the returning annual award categories for Formulation, Process Development and Packaging. The new category, supported by Pharmaceutical Outsourcing magazine, recognises Innovation in Partnering and honours partnering methods, use of technology, unexpected outcomes and unique partnering practices.

The 2014 winner for Best Innovation in Formulation was MJR PharmJet for counter-ion complexes for enhanced load in nanocarriers. MJR PharmJet has developed a technology that enables the drug loading of hydrophobic nanoparticles to be increased. By forming counter-ion complexes, the solubility of the API can be improved without chemically altering it, allowing nanoparticles with an enhanced load to be formed via the company’s microjet technology.

The principle has been proved via a formulation of the drug ciprofloxacin for cystic fibrosis patients, creating a nanodelivery system that allows the drug to penetrate the thick mucus that forms in their lungs. The employed technology can be applied to a wide range of molecules and different markets, including nutraceuticals and cosmetics.

Locked4Kids, the worlds’ first child-resistant blisterpack carton to comply with both relevant US and European regulatory standards, won the Best Innovation in Packaging category. Until now, nobody has succeeded in developing a child-resistant (CR) carton box that is easily opened by seniors, inexpensive, suitable for mass production and available in multiple packaging sizes.

It consists of a carton and a tray that contains the blisters and locks in the carton when fully inserted. The tray can be pulled out by means of ‘push points,’ placed diagonally across at a distance that adults can easily cover, but young children can’t. Develped with the help of Ecobliss, Locked4Kids can be formed using conventional cartoning machines with no loss of line speed.

Our Pharma Awards are an exceptional platform, providing the opportunity to highlight innovations within the industry that are set to drive the pharmaceutical marketplace

This year’s CPhI Pharma Award for Best Innovation in Process Development was received by acib; 'Enzyme-Google' discovers hidden possibilities of nature. Bio-based industries will be interested to learn of acib’s Catalophor System — a search engine including a database, which can discover enzyme functionalities that were previously undescribed. By finding enzymes for reactions that were previously unthinkable (enzymatically), pathways for the synthesis of totally new compounds open up new therapeutic approaches. The system can also search for enzymes that help to produce chiral molecules in pure form and alternatives to patented enzymes.

By scouring approximately 100,000 database entries for similarities, the system raises a list of possible candidates. The most promising are then biotechnologically manufactured and tested in the laboratory. The preliminary computer work saves countless experiments and screening, thereby increasing the opportunity to replace conventional chemical processes with environmentally friendly, enzymatic methods.

The first winner of the new Partnering category was Catalent Pharma Solutions for its collaboration with Redwood Bioscience. Together they developed bioconjugates that incorporate Redwood’s proprietary FGE/aldehyde tag technology and novel bioconjugation chemistry. This method, SMARTag, encompasses all the required components to produce site-specifically modified bioconjugates, including antibody drug conjugates (ADCs). The technology is particularly aimed at widening the therapeutic index for ADC drugs.

Compared with a conventional ADC, results have shown that a SMARTag-generated ADC has a better toxicity profile, is well tolerated and provides statistically significant survival benefits, and has greater exposure and longer circulating half-life. The ability to find the optimal site for a particular payload/antibody combination can be critical to a programme’s success, and can be easily implemented in preclinical research programmes. This is likely to play a key role in the future of ADC development programmes, including developing bispecific ADCs, as well as developing ADCs for indications beyond oncology.

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Chris Kilbee, Group Director Pharma at UBM Live, extended his congratulations to all the finalists and commented: 'Our Pharma Awards are an exceptional platform, providing the opportunity to highlight innovations within the industry that are set to drive the pharmaceutical marketplace. This year we added a new Partnering category, designed to showcase forward looking collaborative approaches within the industry. CPhI Worldwide is increasingly the hub for content and industry innovations.'