Participants working on an activity at a September '23 workshop offered by Pfizer at Ohio Northern University.

Ohio Northern University鈥檚 Raabe College of Pharmacy recently hosted Pfizer representatives who offered a four-hour workshop titled 鈥3D Drug Discovery & Development.鈥 The intensive learning opportunity featured interactive exercises that tasked participant teams with conceiving concepts from ideation to sales.

The program taught about the trade-offs between time, money, and product attributes that influence drug development strategies as well as a drug鈥檚 likelihood of making it to the market. Participants also learned about different stages of drug discovery and development and the activities that underlie them. Factors ranging from clinical trials to commercial evaluation are pertinent. The entire process often takes years, or even decades, to complete, along with millions invested, for each FDA-approved drug.

This Sept. 27 workshop was facilitated by medical affairs members with a broad understanding of the Pfizer drug discovery and development process. The four-member Pfizer workshop team included two 91直播alumni: Patrick Garman, BSPh 鈥91, vaccines medical director, and Sara Petite, Pharm.D. 鈥13, vaccines field medical director.

After the event, Garman said he was impressed with workshop students, an interdisciplinary group of about 50 with representation from ONU鈥檚 Colleges of Pharmacy, Business, and Arts & Sciences. Garman, whose own pharmacy experiences have been widely varied, said his career has resembled 鈥渢he feather in 鈥楩orest Gump,鈥欌 landing at various locations just in time for consequential happenings. Prior to his work at Pfizer, he spent 30 years in the U.S. Army, retiring at the rank of colonel after a career of firsts, including serving as the first Deputy Joint Staff Surgeon at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Returning to his alma mater to teach others about important but rarely-understood pharmaceutical industry functionality was meaningful, Garman said.

Mark Olah, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical and Medical Sciences, said the workshop was a hit. His team was assigned to come up with an idea for a Type 2 diabetes drug and conceptual methods for shepherding it through the approval process. Along the way, he said teams would literally roll dice to determine their product鈥檚 fate. For instance, one drug idea might end up causing terrible side effects while another might make it to the finish line with flying colors.

Olah said 91直播was lucky to have landed Pfizer for one of its 3D workshops, given that representatives are booked far into the future with other schools, private groups, and more.

鈥淭he workshop was a great way to dive into the thought process of developing a new drug and bringing it to market as well as the logistics of how to do so,鈥 said fifth-year pharmacy student Hannah Blake. 鈥淎s a pharmacy student, I found our discussions surrounding marketing a drug in terms of how it compares to the currently available products to be one of the most interesting topics. The Pfizer team walked us through a lot of the research and development phases that new drugs have to go through and also how those relate to the FDA. I was most surprised to learn that the process of naming a drug (the generic and brand name) can take several years.鈥