We are delighted to announce that Dr. Rick Panicucci has joined WuXi as Vice President of Pharmaceutical Development Services. Prior to WuXi, Rick was Global Head of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Profiling (CPP) at Novartis from 2004.  His responsibilities include analytics, solid state chemistry and formulation development of all small molecule therapeutics in early development. Additional responsibilities include developing novel drug delivery technologies for small molecules and large molecules including siRNA.  Rick currently also holds the position of Adjunct Professor at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy.  This week we sat down with Rick to discuss his career and thoughts on the industry.

What inspired you to join WuXi after over 20 successful years at both biotech and pharma including most recently as Global Head of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Profiling at Novartis?

Panicucci: I am really excited about joining WuXi.  WuXi is a well recognized leader with a best-in-class capability and technology platform, a proven track record, and deep commitment to partners and patients.  With my experience in Biotech and Big Pharma I will be able to use all my learning to support our customers and partners achieve success.

What can you tell us about the PDS business unit at WuXi that you will be deeply involved as the scientific leader, and what goals you aspire to achieve?

Panicucci: We aspire to make the WuXi Pharmaceutical Development Service (PDS) platform the best-in-class in the world. WuXi has built an impressive open-access and integrated platform for discovery and development to serve our partner’s need.  For the past six years, PDS has served over 300 partners and delivered over 750 clinical batches to support our partner’s clinical studies all over the world.  Our quality system has been inspected and approved by US FDA, MPA and China cFDA.   We will continue to build capability and capacity, and integrate with our API business to provide integrated CMC services to serve our partner’s needs.

Having been in major pharma working with external collaborators and now you are on the service platform side,  what do you see are secrets to successful collaborations?

Panicucci: I would say that communication is most important.  It is important to listen to our customers and really try to understand what their needs are and then map out and communicate a strategy to them that allows them to be successful in their projects.  In this scenario everyone “wins” including patients that will benefit from new therapies.

As an internationally recognized formulation expert,  what do you predict will be some of the most significant developments in your field upcoming, and how they may impact better solution for patients?

Panicucci: The biggest challenge will be the drug device combinations.  Patients of the future will expect integrated technologies (electronic and special formulations) to be part of the therapeutic solutions.  I have studied this area for years and am really looking forward to exploring the possibilities at WuXi.