Udaya Khandavilli, a Senior Chemist at AbbVie talks to us about his pharma journey from PhD, postdoctoral researcher to working in a role that he firmly believes is helping to provide more effective and efficient treatments for those living with these diseases.
“In my opinion, a dedicated research centre like SSPC is even more important as it helps to bridge the gap between academia and industry”
I am extremely fortunate to have had the guidance and support of Profs. Anita Maguire and Simon Lawrence as my PhD supervisors at University College Cork and Patrick Frawley at the University of Limerick as my postdoctoral supervisor. They provided me with invaluable advice and consistently encouraged me to attend SSPC technical meetings, which were an invaluable opportunity for me to learn from other researchers and develop my presentation and communication skills. Additionally, these meetings enabled me to form connections with universities across Ireland, which has been a great benefit to me. I am very appreciative of the guidance and support that they have provided and SSPC for all the resources.
My interest in crystal engineering and synthetic chemistry
I became interested in crystal engineering and synthetic chemistry when I took a course in organic chemistry in Masters. I was fascinated by all the possibilities available within the field, and it inspired me to pursue further studies and research in this area. I was intrigued by the complexity of the materials and their ability to form such intricate and diverse structures. I found it fascinating to learn more about the science behind these materials and how they could be used to create something useful. From that point on, I have been continually exploring these areas and learning more.
My current research
I support the introduction and production of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), a type of biopharmaceutical drug used to treat a variety of diseases, including cancer, arthritis, and other illnesses. ADCs are designed to be a targeted therapy, meaning they are specifically tailored to the individual patient’s needs. This allows for a more effective treatment, as the drug is able to target the specific cells that are causing the illness.
Through my support of the manufacture these drugs, I firmly believe I am helping to provide more effective and efficient treatments for those living with these diseases.
I was most surprised to learn how important communication and collaboration were in the role of a researcher. I had expected to spend most of my time in the lab, but I quickly realized that I needed to be able to effectively communicate my findings to colleagues and collaborate with other researchers in order to make meaningful progress.
The importance of pharma research and supports
Pharma research is extremely important as it helps to develop new medicines and treatments for various diseases. In my opinion, a dedicated research centre like SSPC is even more important as it helps to bridge the gap between academia and industry. SSPC provided me with the opportunity to gain exposure to the GMP environment and understand the current needs of the industry. It also helps to transfer the knowledge and innovative ideas from academia to industry.
Areas I think pharma is driving towards
In my opinion, Pharma is increasingly focused on areas such as personalized medicine, the development of targeted therapies (such as ADCs), big data analytics to enable better decision making, digital health, genomic research, and artificial intelligence (AI). There is also an emphasis on developing innovative drug-delivery systems, advancing biosimilars, and exploring new approaches to clinical trials and regulatory pathways. Additionally, pharma is investing heavily in research and development in areas such as rare diseases, oncology, and immunology, as well as exploring new treatments involving gene and cell therapy.