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Biopharmaceutics Focus Group

Focus Group Chair
 Contact Mark  
Dr Mark McAllister
Dr Mark McAllister is a team leader in the Research Formulation group of Pfizer, PGRD, in Sandwich, UK. He graduated in Pharmacy from Queens University Belfast in 1990 and completed an industrial/hospital pre-registation year before commencing a PhD programme (development of liposomal polymyxin for the treatment of cystic fibrosis) at Aston University with Prof. Oya Alpar. His first industrial appointment at Hoechst-Roussel, Swindon, provided experience working with silicone-based hormone sustained-release. Mark moved to SmithKline Beecham in 1995 where he gained experience in drug absorption profiling, biopharmaceutics and early phase candidate assessment. As a manager within the Strategic Technologies department of GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceutical Development in Harlow, he was responsible for a number of technology development programmes spanning areas such as oral modified-release and bioenhancement. Since joining Pfizer in 2008, he has continued his research interests in biopharmaceutics and provides formulation support for programmes from early discovery through to proof-of-concept stage.


Biopharmaceutics can be defined as the study of how the physicochemical properties of a drug, the dosage form and the route of administration affect the rate and extent of drug absorption. Effective biopharmaceutical characterisation of new chemical entities is a key factor throughout drug development. Biopharmaceutical properties help to guide formulation design and choice of delivery system, however profiling dosage form performance under conditions which are relevant to in vivo conditions remains a challenge to pharmaceutical scientists. The biopharmaceutics focus group was originally set-up in 1999 to provide a forum for discussion of such challenges and to promote awareness of this discipline within Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The focus group steering committee has representation from industrial scientists in Pfizer, GSK, AstraZeneca, Bristol Myers Squibb, Novartis, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Quotient and academics from King’s College London, UCL School of Pharmacy, University of Bath, Bradford and Birmingham Universities. A number of focus group members are participants in the Innovative Medicines Initiative funded ‘OrBiTo’ project which is seeking to develop the next-generation of innovative tools for oral biopharmaceutics.


The focus group will promote scientific education and training in the field of biopharmaceutics to meet the needs of scientists working in both industrial and academic sectors. The focus group will provide an active community of practice for those interested in the science of oral drug absorption and through this network seek to develop opportunities for cross-sector pre-competitive collaboration. The focus group will contribute to the scientific programme for the annual APS PharmSci meeting and organise additional symposia to promote awareness of innovative approaches for oral drug delivery and biopharmaceutics.

Past Events

2009 - Joint Biopharmaceutics & Materials  Science focus groups meeting at Loughborough in May 2009 ‘Characterising Bioperformance of small molecules – new tools and technologies

2010 - APS UK Science meeting, Nottingham, two sessions supported by the focus group: i) ‘Biopharmaceutics of large molecules and ii) ‘Biopharmaceutics – enabling early formulation development


2011- Biopharmaceutics and Drug Delivery Meeting – MSD, Hoddesdon ‘Biopharmaceutics & early clinical development – current best practice and emerging science’

2012 - APS PharmSci 2012, East Midlands Conference Centre, University of Nottingham,  Biopharmaceutics: Recent advances with in vitro tools for oral drug delivery’


2013 - Biopharmaceutics Focus Group Meeting – MSD, Hoddesdon ‘Applied biopharmaceutics – understanding bioequivalence, biowaivers and in-vitro in-vivo correlations’


2013 - APS PharmSci 2013, Heriott Watt University, Edinburgh,  Imaging for oral drug delivery’   



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