Thursday, May 8, 2014

Protein Aggregation: The Black Coffee of Drug Discovery

Conference Producer, IBC Life Sciences

I don’t drink coffee. I have had less than 10 cups in my entire life, and the last one I sampled was so terrible I dumped it down a storm drain in the street.

Part of my reason for not liking coffee is there are too many choices. Years ago, my wife’s parents – who are big coffee drinkers – took a road trip to visit us and asked that we grab them some coffee for their stay.

My wife and I asked what kind of coffee they wanted, and we got the good old response, “Oh, any kind is fine.”

My wife doesn’t drink coffee, either (so much for opposites attracting), so my in-laws were quite disappointed when they arrived to find instant coffee waiting for them. My wife and I had no idea what we were buying.

So I sympathize with protein researchers who may sense trouble brewing when they have to choose among a varied selection of instruments and technologies designed to analyze aggregation levels in their drug products.

Protein aggregation seems like black coffee to me: It’s not sweet and you’ve got to be tough to handle it. But minimizing protein aggregation is an effort taking place throughout the drug discovery pipeline, from early research through formulation, all the way to the patient. Technology is a valuable aid when you’re doing aggregation-themed work on the molecular level.

So I’m happy to see so much interest in our technology sessions at IBC’s upcoming Protein Aggregation, Stability & Solubility conference, which takes place June 4-6, 2014, in downtown San Francisco.

One of the highlights of the program for me is a panel discussion with a simple mission: Explore the pros and cons of various tools used to measure aggregation. Our panelists will likely hit upon field-flow fractionation, fluorescence spectroscopy, chromatography, transmission electron microscopy, light-scattering techniques, and ultra-centrifugation — along with any other technologies our audience asks about.

The event also features the following individual presentations about analytical and particle characterization technologies:
  • ·  Protein Aggregation and Emerging Tools to Support Development and Characterization (presenter from Gilead Sciences, Inc.)
  • ·  New Orthogonal Methods to Test Biopharmaceutical Solutions for the Presence of Aggregates and Particulate Matter (University of Geneva)
  • ·  Methods for the Characterization of Biotherapeutic Aggregates (Pfizer, Inc.)
  • ·  Light-Scattering Toolbox for Predicting and Characterizing Aggregation (Wyatt Technology Group)
  • ·  Use of Solution Nuclear Magnetic Resonance to Identify Site-Specific Structural Changes in Proteins that Precede Aggregation (University of Kansas)
We’d love to see you at the conference, which is the one largest ever dedicated to protein aggregation concerns.

P.S. If you find a coffee flavor you think I’ll like, swing by registration at the event and let me know.

You can find more information on the Protein Aggregation, Stability & Solubility conference here. Register now and save 20%. Use discount code D14200BLOG.

Follow Scott on Twitter @Scott_biopharma

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