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The first Boston QSP event was a resounding success

Guests started to trickle in at 5:45 pm and within minutes the venue was jam packed and

Networking at Boston QSP

Photo: Guests during networking at Boston QSP.

attendees were busy networking and enjoying the food. The talk part of the event started

Photo: Networking at Boston QSP.

promptly at 6:30 pm after a brief welcome by the co-organizer, Rajiv P. Shrestha.

Photo: Co-organizer Rajiv welcoming the guests and getting them seated.

The first speaker of the evening was Chandni Valiathan with her presentation titled “Translational model based dose selection in immuno-oncology.” The presentation was based on her work related to development of pembrolixumab (Keytruda) at Merck & Co. as an Associate Principal Scientist. She helped the audience to appreciate the complexities of a

Photo: Chandni during her talk.

model building process and the unconventional approach taken by Merck’s team. Initial clinical data was already available to guide early modeling and simulation (M&S) effort which enabled a more informed set of preclinical studies and so on to further improve the model. This led to informed changes in the decisions. Ultimately, the FDA approval for

Photo: Q&A after Chandni's presentation.

Keytruda was obtained for the dose recommended by the M&S team (2 mg/kg once every 3 weeks). Had the conventional approach been followed, the dose would perhaps have been 10 mg/kg once every 2 weeks. Chandni highlighted the limitations of existing preclinical models during Q&A which served as a perfect preamble for the second speaker, Christian Maass.

Christian is a Postdoc with the Translational Systems Pharmacology team led by Murat Cirit which is a part of MIT’s Physiomimetics program led by Linda G. Griffith. His talk was titled “Design and practical operation of single and multi-microphysiological devices for

Photo: Christian giving his talk.

systems pharmacology application.” In simple words, a microphysiological device (a chip) contains small fraction of actual human organ tissues and can mimic the organ.The idea is to use a network of such chips to develop a system that would mimic a more complicated interaction between different organs. The response of such a system to a new drug would mimic a test on humans. That could potentially be a game changer!

Post-talk Q&A sessions were lively and the networking sessions were cordial. Many attendees stuck around until it was time to clear up the venue.

Photo: Christian during the Q&A.

Thanks to the expert speakers and the enthusiastic attendees for making the first Boston QSP event a resounding success. The organizers are highly encouraged and look forward to presenting yet another successful event on November 14, 2016.

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