PPP Symposium

MacroChem's VP/R&D addresses international experts

MacroChem's VP/R&D addresses international experts

In 2004, MacroChem had been in business for nearly 20 years, and yet never had a major international platform for its transdermal technology. One of the few such platforms available for such a specialized subject as absorption-enhanced topical drugs is the "Perspectives in Percutaneous Penetration" (PPP) conference, held biannually in La Grande Motte, France.

Mel's long business association with one of the conference organizers simplified presentation of a proposal that MacroChem underwrite the production of the heavily-attended pre-conference technology-update seminar, in exchange for a podium presentation by MacroChem's vice president of R&D on the company's platform technology, SEPA. The plan was for Mel to record the meeting on microdisks, which were then to be transcribed into manuscripts for editing into proceedings chapters, along with a selection of each speaker's PowerPoint slides. Mel was to collect their PowerPoint presentations on a USB drive, and photograph the speakers with a digital camera.

The conference organizers had given the speakers strict guidelines to confine their talks to 30 minutes and 30 slides, following a strict outline, to simplify proceedings production. However, some speakers came with lectures that lasted as long as an hour, and used more than 100 slides. The many international accents and highly scientific dermatology subjects, combined with speakers hurriedly clicking through the last quarter or more of their slides, challenged even the most experienced medical conference transcribers. Worse, despite strong counseling by the conference directors, several speakers significantly duplicated the presentation subjects of other speakers. The challenges to producing a manageable document were imposing.

Mel's response was to deal with the many lectures as a single effort, producing a master outline of topics discussed, and then, arbitrarily editing out duplicating information. He listened to the whole seminar with an open laptop, repeatedly "Googling" tough phrases and seeking references for data quoted. Presentations that contained as many as 137 slides were cut to as few as four or five editorial images.

Because of the complex range of subjects and duplication issues, the rough-edited sections were dumped into blocked-out DTP forms, into which selected powerpoint slides had been placed for position. That quickly demonstrated just which chapters needed to be more tightly edited, and which ones could be more heavily illustrated. When speakers received their manuscripts for review, they were sent the rough layouts – giving the appearance that the proceedings were further advanced in the production process than if sent as manuscripts, and subtly suggesting that heavy changes would not be greeted with enthusiasm. Only the MacroChem chapter went together as planned, because the lecture and presentation had been produced to organizer directives!

The final publication has proved to have high interest among the specialists in skin penetration at the world's pharma and cosmetics companies, and to analysts who cover companies with emerging technologies in this important field.

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