Faculty members author comprehensive book on drug development

When searching for teaching resources, Campbell University faculty members Antoine Al-Achi, Mali Gupta, and William Stagner saw a reoccurring need for a book that provided a comprehensive approach to the pharmaceutical industry. The three started discussing this issue, and before long, a new book project was underway.

“We wanted to provide a single resource for pharmaceutical students and scientists that covered pre-formulation, product design and offered a depth of information about the regulatory aspect,” said Dr. Mali Gupta, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences.

After three years of dedicated writing and collaboration, “Integrated Pharmaceutics: Applied Preformulation, Product Design, and Regulatory Science” hit bookshelves this spring and is available to purchase online.

The new book is unique because it is one of the first to offer a complete picture of the drug development process with current topics, problem-solving examples and reference material.

“There have been very few books that cover the topics that we include. For my classes, I was recommending four or five books to offer enough material for everything that I wanted to cover,” said Dr. William Stagner, professor of pharmaceutical sciences.

To write a book that encompasses the complex process of drug product design to FDA approval requires an extensive wealth of knowledge. The combined expertise of all three co-authors allowed them to meet this challenge.

Before arriving at Campbell, Gupta spent 25 years in various positions at Revlon, including director of quality control and assurance, and Stagner established the Pharmaceutics Department at the Glaxo Research Institute. Dr. Antoine Al-Achi, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, has taught pharmaceutics to Campbell’s doctor of pharmacy students for over 20 years, and is the former director of the Formulation Development Division of Campbell's Pharmaceutical Sciences Institute.

Stagner has already incorporated the book into his lectures this spring, and the other two have plans to use it for their classes teaching students in both of the undergraduate and graduate programs in pharmaceutical sciences and the pharmacy program at Campbell.

With their in-depth knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry, the co-authors had a second goal for their book: to create a reference tool for industry professionals.

“There has been a loss in the educational and training process for individuals going into pharmaceutical sciences,” Stagner said.

He noted a national trend in doctor of pharmacy curriculums. Pharmacy schools are focusing more on clinical training, and spending less time teaching basic sciences. This curriculum change is driving the pharmaceutical industry to hire more individuals with degrees in biology, engineering and chemistry.

“I’ve read several papers that indicate it takes five to ten years to bring a person up to speed with the kind of education we are providing to our students in Campbell’s pharmaceutical sciences programs,” Stagner said.

They hope this book will be used as a resource to shorten the lengthy training period for industry professionals. The unique compilation offers numerous appendixes in each chapter to quickly find material, and there is an accompanying online problem solving manual.

The co-authors have already been informed that their book will be adopted into the curriculum at another pharmacy school. They are excited to see how others will use it, and hope to help fill the education void within the world of pharmaceutics.

Photo: Newly published authors Dr. Mali Gupta, Dr. William Stagner and Dr. Antoine Al-Achi spent over three years writing their book which provides a comprehensive approach to pharmaceutics. Together they offer over 75 years of teaching and work experience within the pharmaceutical profession.