New Endowed Professorship for “Patient-Centered Drug Development and Production Technology” Announced

December 04, 2013

Graz, Austria - Dec. 4, 2013 - Older adults take a variety of different medicines to treat health conditions. Compared to other patient populations, they are more likely to have vision, swallowing and dexterity challenges. As a result, they may take the wrong dose of medicine, forget to take medicines or be unable to swallow oral dosage forms resulting in severe health consequences.

Patient-centered research and drug development can play a critical role in understanding the needs of this patient group and help to develop new products and technologies to improve treatment outcomes. In an effort to enhance understanding in this area of research, TU Graz and Capsugel today launched an endowed professorship, “Patient-Centered Drug Development and Production Technology.”

As the world’s population ages, greater understanding about patient-centered drug development for older adults is critical. This new professorship is specifically targeted to this population and will have a positive impact on patient care. The professorship will begin in the Spring of 2014.

“We are happy to have an innovative and forward-looking partner like Capsugel on board,” said Rector Harald Kainz. “The cooperation is an important development to strengthen Styria, Austria as a business and science location. This new professorship will provide basic knowledge and scientific data to help academia and industry develop better treatments for older adults.”

“It is often difficult for older adults to identify the correct medicines due to failing vision, or they may have swallowing problems that make it difficult to take oral medicines,” said Johannes Khinast, Head of the Institute of Process and Particle Engineering and Scientific Director of the Research Center Pharmaceutical Engineering GmbH (RCPE). “The one-size-fits-all approach is no longer applicable. Medicines need to be targeted to the special needs of patients.”  

“We are very excited about this scientific partnership that will ultimately help provide enhanced pharmaceutical products and technologies to older patients and address their personal needs,” said Dr. Keith Hutchison, Senior Vice President, R&D at Capsugel.

The professorship is based on the expertise of TU Graz and RCPE within BioTechMed (TU Graz, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz and Med Uni Graz). “With this professorship, we create a long-term scientific network in Graz,” stated  Rector Kainz. “For the first time, an interdisciplinary research area has been created that puts the needs of the patient at the center of drug development.”  

Students will also benefit from the new professorship. TU Graz will offer lectures in the area of patient-centered drug development, which is a particular interest for students of the NAWI Graz Chemical and Pharmaceutical Engineering program, as well as those studying pharmacy and medicine. Moreover, RCPE intends to cooperate with industry partners, given the growing relevance of this research to the health care industry.

The endowed professorship is for 5 years. A new working group at the Institute for Process and Particle Engineering will ensure long-term research in this area at TU Graz.