History of the Forum for Consumer and Diversified Products

 

(from CRS Newsletter Volume 27, Number 2, 2010)

 By Chuck Frey, Coatings Place Inc.

 This article provides a cursory history of the Consumer and Diversified Products (C&DP) track of CRS. Information has been compiled from CRS website information significant input from Mary Massey (formerly Mary Marshall, a principal founder of the C&DP track), and early members of CRS who helped develop the track, including Harlan Hall, Ron Versic, and Herb Scher. 

Elements of controlled release can be found throughout history, but coinage of the term “controlled release” and recognition of it as a field of study can be traced to the early- to mid-1900s. The first commercially successful oral sustained-release products were realized in the 1940s and 1950s. An application involving the controlled release of antifoulants from rubber was conceived in the 1950s. Agrochemical/pesticide applications in the 1970s led to the development of a Controlled Release Pesticide Symposium in 1973 and 1974. This was broadened to Controlled Release of Bioactive Materials in 1977. It was then incorporated as the Controlled Release Society (CRS) in 1978, a non-profit organization with a mission to advance the science and technology of controlled release. 

In the early years of CRS, consumer and diversified products was the principal focus of activity. Consumer and diversified products refers here to non-pharmaceutical applications. Agricultural/pesticide and industrial/chemical were the primary interests, but interest rapidly expanded into pharmaceuticals in the 1980s and 1990s following the change in name to include “bioactive materials.” The original interest in consumer and diversified products (C&DP) remained through this transition, but it became hidden within pharmaceutical growth. 

CRS members with principal interests in C&DP eventually realized that their interests were being only marginally served by the Society. New minds and technologies related to C&DP were not joining or contributing to CRS. This was believed to be due to the lack of visibility of the C&DP elements among the pharmaceutical interests. Those outside CRS could not see the C&DP interest of the CRS; the Society appeared to have developed outsider recognition as a pharmaceutical organization.Workshops were one vehicle used to foster controlled release education and growth of CRS. A Consumer Products Workshop was led by Jack Burger (Quest International) at a meeting in Amsterdam. Another was chaired by Curt Thies (Washington University) at the 1994 CRS Annual Meeting in Chicago. Mary Marshall, manager of Microencapsulation Research at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), was invited to the Chicago workshop to present “Submerged Nozzle Encapsulation Technology,” which had been practiced at SwRI for more than three decades. (Mary had met Curt Thies and Bob Sparks in 1992 through the Center for Professional Advancement Course on Microencapsulation as the SwRI lecturer.) It was at this CRS Chicago workshop that Mary was first introduced to CRS leaders and began to understand its membership needs. Lecturers at the 1994 Chicago workshop included Thies, Wayne Beimesch (P&G), Zohar Merchant (Kraft General Foods), Jack O’Neill (Sanofi Bio Ingredients), Jack Burger, Robert Sparks (Washington University), Nicholas Peppas (Purdue University), and Hans Junginger (Leiden-Amsterdam Center for Drug Research). After the workshop, most of these presenters met for lunch and discussed how to bring more consumer products researchers into CRS. This discussion led to the formation of the Consumer and Diversified Products (C&DP) Subcommittee under CRS President Dr. Hans Junginger, with the request for Mary Marshall to lead the effort.  

Mary Marshall was co-chair or chair of the CRS C&DP Committee from its establishment in 1995 through 1999. Letters were written to identify researchers in the field who wanted to create a strong, continuing presence within CRS for non-pharmaceutical applications. Once a month, between 6 and 12 people joined a conference call for one hour to discuss organizational ideas, workshop topics, and possible presenters. The conference calls were scheduled at 11 a.m. U.S. Eastern time to accommodate members in time zones ranging from California to Europe. Initially, the members and their employers paid for the international calls, but over time, CRS funded a call-in conference number free of charge to U.S. members.The C&DP Committee quickly decided not to not focus on a workshop offering, but instead to convince CRS to support a C&DP conference. The rationale was that workshops tend to attract researchers new to the field, whereas conferences engage new members as well as support the technical interactions necessary for seasoned researchers. The C&DP Committee requested a stand-alone conference to foster its interests. This was denied by the CRS Board due to concerns about fragmenting the Society and increased financial risks.

 A compromise was reached to hold the C&DP conference within the CRS Annual Meeting and to give C&DP stand-alone pages in the annual meeting program book, additional advertising budget, and a dedicated room at the annual meeting for the C&DP sessions. 

At the 1998 CRS Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, after three years of preparation, the first of several C&DP conferences was held. The second was held in Boston with the 26th CRS Annual Meeting. By the third C&DP conference (Paris 2000), one-quarter of the CRS Annual Meeting attendance were registered for the C&DP conference. These numbers indicated a successful meeting strategy and a significant continuing interest in C&DP (non-pharmaceutical) areas. 

Since the Paris meeting, the C&DP Committee has continued to steer the efforts within the C&DP track of CRS. Its mission is to advance science, technology, and education in the field of controlled release or delivery of non-pharmaceutical active ingredients. The C&DP conference is no longer held as an isolated offering at the CRS Annual Meeting, but it is more seamlessly embedded in the technical program. The C&DP Committee continues to hold teleconferences at 10:00 a.m. U.S. Eastern time on the second Thursday of each month. This time is focused significantly on preparations for CRS Annual Meetings, including five to six C&DP-focused technical sessions, a C&DP Pearls of Wisdom debate, and a C&DP workshop (if offered). The group continuously looks to new venues to further its mission. 

C&DP technical sessions commonly focus on product areas such as foods, nutritionals or nutraceuticals, cosmetics or cosmeceuticals, personal care, agriculture, industrial, flavors, and fragrances, as well as generic elements of controlled release, such as innovative materials, evaluation, stabilization, scale-up, process technology, and matrix interactions. In recent years, the C&DP track has been looking for ways to better represent areas that may not be adequately represented in CRS, such as textiles, environmental concerns, and other more isolated niches. 

The C&DP group continues to organize well-attended workshops at the CRS Annual Meeting to help meet its educational goals. These workshops have typically focused on controlled release technologies and have been offered both at an advanced level with field experts presenting the technologies and as more basic instruction for young scientists. A C&DP-organized workshop on evaluation of controlled release products will be offered at the 2010 CRS Annual Meeting in Portland, OR. 

By most accounts, the C&DP track is an important element of CRS. Fostering cross-fertilization of ideas between the pharmaceutical and many C&DP areas remains a goal of the track. With its continuing presence as a track within CRS, C&DP looks to maintain its visibility to attract global interest from outside the Society for the benefit of all. Recent new interests in the C&DP track were unaware that their interests were represented within CRS until, by chance, they attended the 2009 CRS Annual Meeting in Copenhagen. They were very pleased to find a CRS track focused in their area. The C&DP group recognizes this as evidence that more effort is needed to bring about the recognition needed to reach its full potential. 

In addition to those individuals already mentioned above, early support of the C&DP track came from Harlan Hall (Coating Place, Inc.), Ron Versic (RT Dodge Co.), Terry Mazer (Abbott Laboratories), Judy Roseman (CRS executive director and constant source of assistance, coordination, and encouragement), Alfred Gaertner (Genencor International), Zohar Merchant (Kraft Foods), Adi Shefer (Salvona), Saskia Galema (Unilever), Gulden Yilmaz (ATO-DLO), Eric Abrutyn (The Andrew Jergens Company), Denis Poncelet (ENITIAA and Bioencapsulation Research Group), Gary Cleary (Corium, CRS president), Robert Gurny (University of Geneva, CRS scientific secretary), Susan Cady (Merial, CRS president and treasurer), James Paik ( JSP development, Kellogg), Chul Soo Shin (Yonsei University), Niraj Vasishtha (SwRI), Todd Becker (Genencor International), Kinam Park (Purdue University, CRS president), Michael Rathbone (Griffith University, CRS Board of Scientific Advisors), Anil Gaonkar (Kraft Foods), Irv Jacobs (Particle and Coating Technologies), Richard Wilkins, Jamileh Lakkis, Quin Qui Zhao, Margaret Courtney, and others. Since the 2004 CRS Annual Meeting in Hawaii, a “newer generation” of the C&DP steering committee has become active. The group has also been joined by others who realized the same passion. In addition to persons already mentioned, contributors to the C&DP effort in recent years have included Cathy Ludwig, Doug Dale, Claudio Ortiz, Teresa Virgallito, Ruth Schmid, Nava Dyan, Paul Richardson, Birgit Schleifenbaum, Chris Soper, James Oxley, Chris Barbé, Fanwen Zeng, Raja Sivalenka, Kelly Miller, Nicole Papen-Botterhuis, Zhibing Zhang, and Igor Bodnar. 

A challenge for the C&DP track has been and remains the reluctance of many C&DP technology areas to share work and findings. Many of these technologies rely commercially on patent protection or trade secrets for their success. Sharing exposes their technology to competition; the commercial element trumps any potential advancement that might be realized from sharing. In the health/pharmaceutical fields, this hierarchy may possibly be reversed somewhat due to a more core societal benefit and recognition. The C&DP track would benefit greatly if its application base could find a way to reverse the practice of its industries. Sharing work at CRS Annual Meetings through submission of podium and poster abstracts is one way to do this. Publication of C&DP scientific papers in the Journal of Controlled Release is another. A separate journal for controlled release in C&DP areas has been suggested in recent years; however, it may not be realized without momentum built within the Journal of Controlled Release. 

The C&DP track continues to look forward to growing recognition of, and contributions to, its mission. This mission is consistent with the mission of CRS and should help optimize the value of membership in CRS.

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