Programme Tracks and Transversal themes

It seems that ‘one drug for all’ may become rarer, mainly because future interventions will be context appropriate in terms of disease subclassification, patient genetics and treatment history, drug pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, etc. Disease variants and their stages of progression are being defined at ever higher resolution.

An increasing number of therapies are targeted to specific patient profiles in order to achieve increased effectiveness and improved tolerance. Point-of-care companion diagnostic kits and sophisticated drug vectorization technologies are becoming more common.

Engineers and life scientists are working together to develop new sensors and intelligent systems to monitor and analyze ever more closely changes in biomarker status in disease and under treatment, notably using “omics” approaches.

At the level of communities, we see the promise of continuously improving, learning health care systems, although the rising costs of new medicines represent a challenge. Optimal access to innovative medicines will require the integration of baseline health data, treatment outcomes and drug efficiency analysis to support decision making.  

These considerations will have major effects on how we plan all aspects of drug discovery, development, fabrication and usage.

The scientific programme covers recent developments in the pharmaceutical sciences from target to market. The scientific programme is structured as a matrix in which the different columns are the tracks in the scientific programme and the rows reflect the transversal themes that may be relevant to more than one track. The figure shows the overall structure of the matrix and highlights how the successive tracks correspond to key phases in the continuum of drug R&D and use. The different tracks in the conference as reflected in the columns are: 

Track A = Novel concepts – From diseases to clinical candidates 
Track B = Advanced strategies – Meeting the challenges of optimal manufacture and delivery 
Track C = Effective translation – From predictive experimental models to optimized clinical studies 
Track D = Societal impact – Developing context-appropriate solutions  

Conference Matrix

Programme Tracks

Track A Novel concepts

From diseases to clinical candidates. Participants will explore new concepts in our understanding of disease mechanisms, both at the molecular level as well as systems biology levels, and discuss cutting edge approaches to best discover and design appropriate therapeutic modalities, from small molecules to biologics, cell-based therapies or gene-targeted approaches. For instance:

  • New mechanisms of disease or of drug action
  • Biological networks as therapeutic targets
  • Microbiome regulation of disease and therapy
  • Novel therapeutic modalities
  • Multi-target drugs
  • Genome editing approaches
  • New anti-infective drugs
  • Regenerative medicines
  • Systematic screening and evaluation of natural products and traditional medicines
  • Machine learning in drug discovery, computational chemistry, drug screening

Track B Advanced strategies

Meeting the challenges of optimal manufacture and delivery. Participants will discuss how to meet the demands of individualized medicine and global health with cutting-edge formulation, bioanalytical technologies and manufacturing strategies. For instance:

  • How to adapt and optimize formulation, bioanalysis, quality control, manufacture and packaging for the increasing diversity of therapeutic modalities (small molecules, biologics, gene-based therapies, cell-based therapies, etc)
  • Targeted nanoparticles therapeutics
  • Bioanalytical characterization of biologics including biosimilars
  • Novel excipients
  • Continuous manufacture, formulation on demand, 3-D printing, portable manufacturing
  • Drug – device combinations
  • Data-driven intelligent devices for drug delivery

Track C Effective translation

From predictive experimental models to optimized clinical studies. Participants will discuss how scientific, technological and regulatory developments can increase success rate in clinical trials and help better individualize treatments, with new predictive experimental models and innovative methods for monitoring treatment exposure and response. For instance:

  • From personalized medicine to high-definition medicine
  • Regulatory sciences
  • Biomarker development and clinical utilit
  • Advanced point-of-care diagnostics
  • Translational advances in pharmacogenomics
  • Physiologically-based pharmacokinetic modeling
  • Population-based modeling and simulation of PK/PD relationships
  • High-content monitoring using advanced sensor technology
  • Adaptive clinical trial designs
  • Drug-drug interactions
  • How to measure, increase adherence to treatment
  • Regulatory implications of e-health applications (digital therapeutics)
  • Active role of the patient/patient organizations in the drug development process

Track D Societal impact

Developing context-appropriate solutions. Participants will discuss the contribution of real-world evidence to the evaluation of therapeutics, in order to better address individual patient needs as well as public health issues with the efficient implementation of therapeutic innovations in a context-appropriate manner in communities around the world. For instance:

  • Public health issues – opiate crisis, cannabis usage, antibiotic resistance
  • Comparative effectiveness analysis and efficiency evaluation of medicines to support the implementation of therapeutic innovations in a context-appropriate manner in various communities around the world 
  • Evaluation of biosimilars, equivalence, interchangeability
  • Barriers to access to medicines (physical, social, economic)
  • Collection of real-world evidence in the clinical usage space (structured data) and in the social media space (unstructured data) for pharmacovigilance, pharmacoepidemiology
  • Model development, monitoring of drug use and detection of adverse events
  • Role of pharmacists in managing health care innovations to deliver optimal treatments to the patient
  • Could eHealth applications help engage patients in the management of their treatments?
  • Health data integrity, protection


Transversal themes 

Information-based technologies

 Our ability to collect and analyze data is growing exponentially, creating new opportunities to monitor, understand and influence biological processes. This theme refers to the growing use (or potential impact) of big data in pharmaceutical sciences and drug development. It includes the increasing reliance on smart devices that can collect data (remotely or not), the aggregation of large databases and the development of tools to analyze the data in order to generate smart data out of big data. Of these tools, artificial intelligence (AI) is a prominent technology that is gaining momentum and is poised to revolutionize pharmaceutical sciences. What are the emerging applications of AI and other big data tools in pharmaceutical sciences? For instance:

  • Sensor technologies enabling collection of biological data
  • Machine learning in modeling and simulation of drug use and effect.
  • Machine learning in analysis of intracellular signaling networks for target identification or optimization of multi-target approaches
  • Machine learning in analysis of structure activity relationships following high throughput screening of large chemical compound libraries
  • Analysis of big data generated by “omics” approaches
  • Aid in diagnostics, therapeutic decision making and pharmacy practice.

Global Health

This theme addresses the need to find new ways to deliver innovative treatments to patients around the world in a manner that is sustainable and appropriate for local conditions, in order to address the challenges of neglected diseases in low- to mid-income countries, the response to emerging pathogen threats. For instance:

  • Meeting the needs of populations affected by neglected diseases in low- to mid-income countries
  • Response to emerging pathogen threats
  • How can pharmaceutical sciences contribute to increase accessibility of medicines in developing regions
  • Biodefense

New collaborative models

This theme aims to promote a healthy regulatory and business ecosystem stimulating innovation in drug R&D to address individual and global needs, from open access or patent-based research, public – private partnerships and international consortia to support research in neglected, rare or intractable diseases. For instance:

  • How to improve the current rewarding system with regard to intellectual property and data exclusivity (patent-based R&D vs open access discovery)?
  • What are the best practice to improve innovation and productivity in drug R&D?
  • How to foster collaborations between developed and emerging countries in drug development, evaluation and access
  • International Harmonization of Guidances  

Workforce development

This theme aims to identify the optimal conditions for professional development among pharmaceutical scientists and new types of experts into clinical practice, such as data scientists and digital health technology experts, for effective knowledge transfer from science to pharmacy practice, and for training the next generation of research and healthcare professionals. For instance:

  • How to promote the development of interdisciplinary skills in pharmaceutical scientists
  • How to promote an understanding of the integrated process of drug R&D as well as the life cycle of therapeutics