Molecular Engineering for Integrated Product Development
Blair Kathryn Brettman, PhD
The Polytechnic School
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
Tuesday, Feb. 23. 2016
Santan (SANTN) 220, Polytechnic campus [map]
Free to attend
Traditionally the innovation process for new products proceeds linearly through three stages: discovery, development and scale-up to launch. While this can be successful in many cases, failure in the scale-up phase is common and costly, particularly in pharmaceutical product development when an average of $430 million is spent on research per drug prior to human trials. The likelihood of successful transition to scale-up and launch can be increased by employing an integrated approach to innovation, where the effects of manufacturing processes and the highly complex mixtures used for scaled-up products on molecular level behavior are considered throughout the discovery and development phases. As part of a center dedicated to transitioning pharmaceutical manufacturing from batch to continuous processes, I focused on developing a downstream processing technology, electrospinning, to be useful for producing a wide variety of pharmaceutical products, including those containing crystalline and amorphous drug forms. With an integrated innovation approach, molecular level behavior of the drug and polymer characterized by solid state NMR was tied to the end product properties as well as influences from the manufacturing process. This enabled the development of a process to produce electrospun products containing crystalline drugs as well as provided confidence for producing stable amorphous drug forms. Based on this detailed understanding of the product and process, electrospinning was selected as one of the technologies to incorporate into the start-up that formed from the center, Continuus Pharmaceuticals.
Blair Brettmann received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin in 2007. She received her Master’s in Chemical Engineering Practice from MIT in 2009 following internships at GlaxoSmithKline (Upper Merion, PA) and Mawana Sugar Works (Mawana, India). Blair received her PhD in Chemical Engineering at MIT in 2012 working with the Novartis-MIT Center for Continuous Manufacturing under Prof. Bernhardt Trout. Her research focused on solid-state characterization and application of pharmaceutical formulations prepared by electrospinning. Following her PhD, Blair worked as a research engineer for Saint-Gobain Ceramics and Plastics for two years. While at Saint-Gobain she worked on polymer-based wet coatings and dispersions for various applications, including window films, glass fiber mats and architectural fabrics. Currently Blair is a postdoctoral researcher in the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago with ProfessorMatthew Tirrell.