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The view from the Chairman, Sandy Munro, of the 20th Annual Drug Delivery to the Lungs conference (DDL20) in Edinburgh

As the 20th Drug Delivery to the Lungs (DDL) conference approaches, DDL Chairman Sandy Munro offers his view on what he anticipates to be the highlights for this year’s conference; including the aims to maintain the Drug Delivery to the Lungs (DDL) technical focus while broadening its horizons. He will also be previewing what's in store for this year's special anniversary event.

This years Drug Delivery to the Lungs conference (DDL 20) represents a milestone in that it is the 20th anniversary of the conference. This year, as last, the Chair of the Conference Organising Committee is Sandy Munro. Sandy is the director of Respiratory Development at Vectura, Nottingham and previously spent over 20 years working at GlaxoSmithKline, primarily in the development of inhaled products and latterly as the Global Director of Inhaled Science and Technology. Sandy joined the organising committee of DDL in 1999 and has had significant involvement in the organisation of every conference since.

Sandy chairs the organising committee, helping to pull the programme together and working hard to bring innovation to the event to improve the conference content enjoyable every year. Munro states “It is clear that events like this have to evolve or they will cease to exist. There seems to be an increasing number of conferences with an inhaled focus out there and so we have to remain competitive and offer something unique to the delegate.”
DDL20 is a must-attend event for anyone with an interest in the development of inhaled products. It welcomes students, post-docs, academic staff and scientists from all levels of industry. Delegates also come from contract research organisations, component manufacturers, API and excipient suppliers and both generic and innovator companies. DDL has a very broad appeal to anyone with an interest in inhaled and intransal products and their development.
The objective of the conference is always to bring cutting-edge developments to the inhaled product development community by sharing best scientific and regulatory practice and showcasing the latest innovations. While DDL has several leading presenters in their fields, it also offers less experienced scientists their first opportunity to present to an international audience. “The aim is always to focus on the technical rather than the commercial or marketing aspects of our industry; we want people to share their data at the meeting” says Munro.
The conference has grown steadily over the years with the move to Edinburgh reinforcing a greater international presence with a huge UK and European contingent and a strong US complement plus attendees from the Far East, India and Australia. Munro adds, “DDL is bigger, well organised, more international, and has a very broad church of exhibitors. We are delighted to see the steadily increasing numbers of scientific posters for our sessions. But while the event has developed and grown, part of the appeal is in how the values of DDL haven’t changed. It is still friendly, still intimate, still focused on science and still willing to give students an opportunity to present scientific work to an international audience alongside world experts. I don’t know any other conference that achieves that balance quite so well”.
This year’s conference themes are:
DDL 20: Reflections and Projections
Broadening our Horizons: Looking beyond asthma and COPD
Approaches to improve the cost effectiveness of Inhaled Projects
Technologies for the next 20 Years
“I think the ‘broadening our horizons’ session will be particularly interesting as this is where we will be looking towards new diseases to treat and new therapeutic agents. Looking to the future, there will be an increased emphasis on cost effectiveness as well as a much stronger focus on the patient. We must do things to make patient’s lives easier; decrease the number of medicines they have to take each day and make devices easier to use effectively. I see the need for us to improve our understanding of the new disease areas we are seeking to treat and there is still much progress to be made in furthering our understanding of the diseases we have been treating for many years. There will need to be more focus on lung delivery efficiency with increasingly expensive APIs and higher payloads and also more emphasis on large molecule delivery.”
DDL offers great value for all who participate and there is no sacrifice on content or quality because the organisers are motivated solely to put together the best possible event at the most reasonable cost. And DDL is much more than a 3 day conference. After the event the papers are published in leading journals and alliances and friendships are cultivated. There is also the opportunity to connect with colleagues via the DDL website which contains the meeting abstracts, advertises job vacancies and promotes other important inhalation conferences.
“There is always a great social atmosphere at DDL. Delegates get to rub shoulders with world experts in the field as well as their peers and even their rivals, which can lead to healthy debate. DDL is held in a great city at a great time of year and provides us all with an opportunity to look back at what we have achieved over the past 12 months and encourages all to look forward to the new year with optimism. And at this years conference we have a fantastic Gala Dinner on Thursday 10th December to celebrate the 20th anniversary of DDL. All in all DDL is a great opportunity to learn what’s new, catch up with old friends, make new ones and ask questions in a relaxed atmosphere.”
 “DDL is a unique event, a conference that is truly international but also friendly and intimate and where the content is focused very much on the technical. In order for DDL to thrive it needs the continued support of delegates, exhibitors and sponsors. Without DDL it would be so much more difficult for students and scientists to so readily access such great learning and so many world experts in the field.” Book your place now and look forward to a very rewarding conference experience and a warm and festive welcome at DDL 20 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Pharmacology/ Therapeutics


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