Equipment Workshop Today!

Dear all,

Welcome to Spring 2015!

AAPS Student Chapter is pleased to invite you to an exciting opportunity to learn and get basic training in our equipment workshop on:

 “Hot Melt Extrusion” by

 Simerdeep Singh Gupta, Ph.D.

Post-Doctoral Fellow, St. John’s University

February 11, 2014 (Wednesday) @ 4-5 PM (B2, St. Albert’s Hall)

  *Refreshments served afterwards!

Abstract: The prospect for the development of solid dispersion has greatly improved during the past decade due to the introduction of hot melt extrusion (HME) in the pharmaceutical field. HME has many advantages over other solvent-based technologies used for preparation of solid dispersions. It is a continuous, less time-consuming process that can be scaled up relatively easily. It is also less prone to batch-to-batch variability than other processes. Also, being solvent-free, it poses minimal environmental hazards. However, there are still many challenges in the development of new drug products by melt extrusion. Being a relatively new technology in the pharmaceutical field, the formulation and processing parameters of HME are not fully understood. In most of the published reports, it is not defined how the appropriate polymers, drug-polymer blends and the processing temperatures are selected. A good understanding of the material properties, such as the glass transition temperature (Tg) and the melt viscosity of polymers as well as drug-polymer blends and the drug-polymer miscibility is needed before the development of processing conditions for any new products. The drug-polymer mixtures should also be extrudable at as low a temperature as possible to minimize potential of degradation of drug, polymer or both.

 About the Speaker: Simerdeep Singh Gupta, Ph.D. is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at St. John’s University, specializing in factors affecting miscibility and extrusion of solid dispersions of various drug-polymer combinations by hot melt extrusion technique. He received his Ph.D.’14 and M.S.’10 in Industrial Pharmacy at St. John’s University (Queens Campus, NY). His doctoral dissertation covered the research area of rheology aspects of Hot Melt Extrusion for solubility enhancement of poorly water soluble drugs. Dr. Gupta investigated formulation and processing factors that affect the performance of solid dispersions. Dr. Gupta has several research achievements in his career including the design and completion a Master’s thesis project on formulation of polymeric nanoparticles using design of experiment approach prepared by nanoprecipitation for brain targeting, and investigation of process and formulation parameters for formulation of cocrystals entrapped in cyclodextrin complex by supercritical fluid processing.

Additionally, Dr. Gupta also played a key role in establishing hot melt extrusion and film casting technology at St. John’s University, NY and was responsible for planning and execution of a grant proposal by Catalent Pharma Solutions in the area of hot melt extrusion. He has been a recipient to various awards like NJPhAST scholarship, FDD travelship award, Catalent R&D recognition award and Modified Release Focus Group-Shering Plough travelship award at AAPS conference. Dr. Gupta has several publications to his account and has made many poster and podia presentations at international conferences. As a graduate student, Dr. Gupta also served as a Chair for AAPS Student Chapter in 2012-13 academic year.

Guest Lecture Today

Hello everyone,

We hope that everybody had a really refreshing Thanksgiving break and spent quality time with your near & dear! As they say, “you can do anything but not everything!”. So, instead of lugging your Monday with undoable tasks, please attend the Guest speaker presentation today i.e, on December 1st, 2014 at 3:30p.m-4:30p.m in the Sciarra Room.

Ph.D, Principal Scientist, Biopharmaceutics at Merck & Co. Inc.
Ph.D, Principal Scientist, Biopharmaceutics at Merck & Co. Inc.

Our guest speaker for today will be Dr. Amitava Mitra, Principal Scientist, Biopharmaceutics at Merck & Co. Inc. and his presentation covers “How to prepare for an industrial career while in a graduate program”. This presentation will be very useful for those graduate students who are trying to make a career in the Pharmaceutical Industry. Please do attend the presentation to get some hands-on career guidance. 

*Refreshments will be served

Halloween Candy & Snack Sale

Hi everyone!

AAPS Student Chapter is raising money for “SJU Bread for life” by

“Halloween Candy & Snack Sale”

Oct 29, 2014 (Wednesday) @ 10 am – 5 pm

St. Albert’s Hall Lobby (Outside Dean’s Office) 

Join us to raise money! Halloween candies on sale. Get a Henna tattoo and free candy corns!


Upcoming Presentation by Two Guest Speakers from Evonik Pharma

Hello everyone!

The first Guest lecture for this Fall semester will be on October 27th at 2:00 p.m. We will be having Dr. Firouz Asgarzadeh and Mitul Patel, from Evonik Pharma. Dr. Asgarzadeh’s topic of presentation will be “An overview functional coating systems with methacrylic copolymers” and Mitul Patel will be talking about “Functional Coating Scale Up Considerations”.

Here’s a summary of their presentations:

“Methacrylic Copolymers (Eudragit) have been used for enteric protection, sustained release, taste-masking and moisture protection of active pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) for 60 years.
During these presentations, we will review the chemistry, physical properties and applications of  Eudragit polymers  in functional coating of APIs. The formulation, process conditions and scale up strategies in tablet and particle coating processes will be discussed in depth.

Biography of Dr. Asgarzadeh:

Firouz Asgarzadeh DSC_0061  1200 x 1807 PPT social media

Dr. Asgarzadeh, is the Director of Technical Services at Evonik Pharma Polymers and Services, North America Region, supporting the EUDRAGIT® modified delivery product line. Dr. Asgarzadeh has over 13 years of experience in the development of solid, liquid  and injectable pharmaceutical formulations. His current research interest at Evonik is the development of innovative formulations and processes for targeted oral drug delivery, injectable extended release, solubility and bioavailability enhancement of
poorly soluble actives.

Prior to joining Evonik, he was Principal Scientist at Merck (Schering-Plough) and Senior
Scientist at Catalent Pharma Solutions (Cardinal Health) where he developed several early
and late stage oral solid and lipid products focusing his research on solubility enhancement technology platforms inducing self (micro) emulsifying drug delivery systems (S(M)EDDS) and pharmaceutical melt extrusion. Dr. Asgarzadeh is the current Chair Elect for Contract Research Organization (CRO) focus group and past chair for Excipient Focus Group (EFG).

Dr. Asgarzadeh earned his Ph.D. in Polymeric Materials and Composites from Université
Claude Bernard (Lyon I), France in 1999. During his Ph.D. in Lyon and post-doctoral year at UPenn, his research was focused on the applications of Living Radical Polymerization methods (ATRP and RAFT) in the manufacturing of polymers with complex architectures. He also has master degrees in Physical Chemistry of Molecular and Macromolecular Materials from Université Louis Pasteur (Strasbourg I), France, and in Polymer Technology and Industry from the University of Tehran-Polytechnic, Iran.

Biography of Mitul Patel: 

Mitul Patel DSC_0015   1200 x 1807 PPT social mediaMitul Patel is a Principal Scientist at Evonik Pharma Polymers North American region for Eudragit Polymer lines.

Mitul Patel has over 9 years of experience in drug product development (specifically solid orals), scale up and wide range of pharmaceutical coating applications.

Prior to joining Evonik, he was working as a formulation scientist at Aurobindo Pharma USA and Sun Pharmaceutical Inc, where he developed generic drug formulations including modified release dosage forms and different coating applications to develop sustained release products for submission to USFDA.

Mitul holds a Bachelor degree in pharmaceutical science.

SJU-AAPS Committee participates in the University Service Day!

The new SJU-AAPS committee have kickstarted their Fall activities by taking part in the University Service Day which was held on Saturday, September 27, 2014. They visited the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDCo) in South Bronx where the volunteers worked on the entire farm clearing crops for winter, weeding, and harvesting vegetables that were distributed to residents. The team was lead by Sawanee Khongsawatwaja, the Assistant Dean of the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, St. John’s University. usd

Welcome the new committee of SJU-AAPS student chapter (2014-2015)!

The elections for the new committee of our SJU-AAPS student chapter were successfully held last Monday i.e., September 8, 2014 between 4.30p.m – 5.30p.m in the Sciarra room amidst enthusiastic students and faculty of the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, St. John’s University. The elections were held for the posts of : Chair-elect, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer & Webmaster. A good number of graduate students from various departments of the Pharmacy college casted their votes, declaring their support to the fellow graduate students who were competing for various posts in the elections. The new committee for the academic year 2014-2015 will be spearheaded by Neha Chavan as the Chair, Prachi Jirvankar as the Chair-elect, Sayma Monir as the Vice-Chair, Bhargav Patel as the Secretary, Soumya Gabbula as the Treasurer, Shruthi Gobbooru as the Webmaster. Let’s congratulate the new committee and also give them our best wishes for a

Our new committee with Dr. Senshang Lin (from left to right): Soumya, Prachi, Bhargav, Neha, Shruthi & Sayma.
Our new committee with Dr. Senshang Lin (from left to right): Soumya, Prachi, Bhargav, Neha, Shruthi & Sayma.

great success in the coming academic year!


Welcome back!!
We hope you enjoyed your summer holidays.

The SJUAAPS 2013/2014 committee is glad to be winding down  on an extremely productive year with activities such as GRASP 2014 and 10+ informative guest lectures under our belt. We would like to thank you for all your support in making this a good year and making SJUAAPS the most active student AAPS chapter. Congtartulations to you!

We will be passing on the baton come September 8th. Elections for the new AAPS commitee will take place in Sciarra room from 4.30pm. Come and vote in your new committee. Of course we will be serving refreshments!! ;)

The outgoing committee would like to thank you for entrusting us with this responsibility and honor. We hope to be of greater service to you into the future.

To our incoming students, we welcome you to St Johns University and SJUAAPS. May you gain much fulfillment from this experience.

Happy Fall 2014 semester!!


Meeting API’s Challenges with Pharmaceutical Polymers by HME

A significantly large percentage of new chemical entities (NCEs) are poorly soluble, and the industry is always on the lookout for new excipients to adapt in drug development technologies for poorly soluble compounds.

Amorphous solid dispersions (ASD) have been well recognized for improving the solubility of crystalline drugs. Among many technologies for ASD, hot melt extrusion (HME) technology is widely used across the industry for increasing solubility and bioavailability of NCEs. The excipients’ manufacturers are working together with drug manufactures to expedite the development process by introducing the innovative polymers for such technology.

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This presentation will focus on physico-chemical characteristics of polymers suited for HME, with case studies showing the improvement of bioavailability by ASD.

Dr. Shaukat Ali has over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industries including 10 years at BASF, where he is supporting the solubilization platform.  Dr. Ali’s areas of expertise include drug solubilization, liposome drug delivery, controlled release and film development technologies.

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He serves the USP panel of experts for General Chapters-Physical Analysis.  He is a member of the editorial boards of American Pharmaceutical reviews, Contract Pharma, Drug Development & Delivery, Biopharma Asia (UK), International Journal of Pharmaceutical Investigation. He has authored over 25 scientific articles and is inventor/co-inventor in 14 US patents.

He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the City University of New York and pursued his postdoctoral interest at the University of Minnesota and Cornell University.  He is an adjunct faculty at the College of Pharmacy, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.

Exploring Current Topics in Skin Delivery with BASF

Norman joined BASF in April 2012 to lead technical sales of the new dermatology portfolio and the development of the Skin Delivery Platform at the new Tarrytown Dermatology lab.

Prior to BASF, from 2001 to 2011 he led innovation projects to find new opportunities within Topical Health Care at J&J and at Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. Brands he supported were Neosporin, Band-Aid, BenGay, Cortizone 10, Purell and Desitin. He also managed the medical device design control process for topical OTC medical devices and provided technical support to solve problems. From 2008-2011 Norm was a key scientist in the Technology Platforms group leading projects to scout for, identify, and evaluate technologies for topical healthcare applications, with a focus on wound care for the Band-Aid Brand and Red Cross First Aid brand.

photo 2

From 1988-2001 Norman worked for Unilever Research at the Edgewater NJ Lab to support brands such as Dove personal cleansing bars, Lever 2000, Vaseline Intensive Care lotions and other skin care products. He worked on projects investigating the metabolic fate of fatty acids deposited on skin, the regulation of epidermal hyperplasia, skin deposition of antimicrobials, biomechanics of stratum corneum and effects of hydration, water behavior in topical products, cellulite and fat metabolism and product physical chemistry (e.g. phase behavior, rheology, water activity, etc.).

photo 3

Prior to Unilever, Norman worked in the Lymphokine Biology Dept. at the New York Blood Center focusing on elucidating the effects of Interferon and Tumor Necrosis Factor on cancer cells. Norm earned his MS at Fairleigh Dickinson University and a BS at Montclair State College, where he conducted research in microbiology and protozoology.



Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.

“The number of novel compounds going into the market is decreasing as well as trends changing from highly soluble to less soluble drugs”. This was the opening statement made by Dr. David Harris, a fellow at Merck as well as a formulation scientist with over 20 years experience in the development of new chemical entities.



These trends he said have led to the need for a highly collaborative process in Oral development programs which in turn has created a laundry of opportunities for young graduating scientists within industry. Opportunities in areas such as per formulation analysis, pre clinical compound assessments, discovery, API development  just to mention but a few are available to young scientists.

photo (4)

Dr. Harris  followed these statements with a presentation on oral development Programs and what they entail.
He talked about key elements of these programs which are classified around the physical and chemical properties of the oral compound to be developed.
Amongst such properties, he mentioned the importance of stability testing, degradation mechanism studies, accelerated stability studies as well as extreme conditions stability testing which is important for drugs that will go through shipping excursions. Dissolution tests more so, bio relevant dissolution studies and clinical bio comparison are all studies that need to be undertaken in developing oral formulations.
From the above Dr. Harris clearly showed that a priori of prediction of bio performance of a drug is needed before the product is marketed. He however made it clear that most products do not make it to market as success in these studies has presented a challenge to many pharmaceutical companies thus only a few drugs actually manage to hit the market and stay in market.
Dr. Harris further went onto talking about various solid dispersion formulations and hot melt extruded solid dispersion’s giving some knowledge on why such formulations are preferred for development.
He also talked about the optimization of blend flow with respect to composition and processing of the formulation (the API and its attributes). From this he gave a comparison of spray dried and hot melt extrusion preparations in relation to their compression properties and costs of production.  He stressed the importance of establishing robustness to variations of API and excipient attributes. Optimization, he added is a very important exercise to undertake in this respect.
Dr. Harris concluded his discussion by presenting a number of case studies undertaken in the oral development program.
We thank this brilliant scientist for making time to come and speak with us.