News Overview

A platform to discuss high-level topics with the pharmaceutical industry


Novartis (Switzerland) and Alphora (Canada) joined the case study program conducted as part of the Second Annual Spring Pharmaceutical Synchrotron X-Ray Powder Diffraction (SPS-XRPD-2) Workshop that took place from May 9 to 12, 2019, in Villigen, Aargau. It was organized by Excelsus Structural Solutions (Swiss) AG, based at PARK INNOVAARE.

From May 9 to 12, 2019, the Second Annual Spring Pharmaceutical Synchrotron X-Ray Powder Diffraction (SPS-XRPD-2) Workshop took place at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI in Villigen, Switzerland. Jointly organized with the 16th Pharmaceutical Powder X-Ray Diffraction Symposium (PPXRD-16) by the International Centre for Diffraction Data (ICDD), the SPS-XRPD-2 meeting followed a successful first edition last year at Purdue University. Supporting the conference, Excelsus Structural Solutions (Swiss) AG in cooperation with the Swiss Light Source (SLS) Materials Science launched a complementary case study program, allowing the pharmaceutical industry to explore the possibilities offered by synchrotron X-ray powder diffraction, free of charge.

We were able to talk to Dr. Fabia Gozzo, CEO of Excelsus, about the initial idea of the workshop and the results of the case study.

PARK INNOVAARE: What was the main idea of this symposium?

Dr. Fabia Gozzo: The idea behind the SPS-XRPD meeting is to inform and educate the industrial community about the advantages of using synchrotron radiation. It is also an opportunity to explain to the industry how such advanced techniques are available to the industry through companies like Excelsus Structural Solutions and Improved Pharma. The access to synchrotron radiation facilities for industrial applications has traditionally been extremely complex (both expensive and time-consuming), and it is still perceived by the industry as unfeasible due to its complexity. The twinning with the PPXRD meeting this year allowed us to access a larger pharma community.

What was the importance of this workshop for Excelsus?

We wanted to create a platform for discussion with pharma companies to further understand their problems and needs and inform them about the ease of access of synchrotron radiation-based analytical techniques and methods that are still considered inaccessible to the industry. For this purpose, Excelsus has organized a “case study” program, where our team offered a limited number of companies (first come, first served) the opportunity to test for free the power of our synchrotron analysis on their own samples, on the condition that the results could be discussed at the meeting and published.

The Canada-based company Alphora participated, and we presented a very exciting case. Novartis also participated to test new methodologies that we are developing together with Improved Pharma, a company in the U.S. specializing in the synchrotron-based structural analysis of non-crystalline pharmaceuticals.

What was the outcome of the meeting for Excelsus and the pharmaceutical industry?

We had the opportunity to show what we can do with real case studies and openly discuss high-level topics of interest for the pharma industry, face-to-face. We also established contact with new academic groups interested in tailoring their research projects to topics of industrial interest. Before being able to offer a new technology or a new analytical method to the industry, there is a lot of interesting and scientifically sound work that needs to be done, and we were happy to be able to create a platform for discussing new scientific ideas. The week following the meeting, there was already some intense exchange between Excelsus, Improved Pharma, and several of the companies and academic groups participating in the meeting. The overall output was very positive, and we look forward to the next SPS-XRPD meeting!