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February 2019: Member Spotlight

Published on 2/1/2019 12:01:00 AM

Jing Liu, PhD, Senior Director, Clinical Pharmacology, Global Product Development, Pfizer, Inc., Groton, CT

Dr. Liu learned about ASCPT in 2002. As a postdoctoral fellow of clinical pharmacology and pharmacometrics at Pfizer in Ann Arbor, MI, she heard about the intriguing presentations, discussions, and networking opportunities at the Annual Meeting. She was referred by her colleague Richard Lalonde, PharmD, who was the Head of Clinical Pharmacology at Pfizer at the time.

ASCPT is a “home base” for Dr. Liu's scientific career growth and her friendships and collaboration with fellow members. She has multiple favorite aspects of her membership. She has always enjoyed attending the Annual Meeting where she has learned about new cutting‐edge science and technical topics and listened to thought‐provoking presentations. The face‐to‐face interactions and networking with other members has always stood out to her as a benefit. She also greatly appreciates her access to CPT, CPT: Pharmacometrics & Systems Pharmacology (PSP), and CTS. From the state‐of‐the‐art articles to original research papers that cover a broad range of topics related to clinical pharmacology, therapeutics, and translational research, as well as technical pieces and source codes on modeling and simulation, all of these appear in the pages of the journals. 

The aspect that seems to hold the most benefit for Dr. Liu is her volunteer service. In her time with ASCPT, she has volunteered as an abstract reviewer and journal reviewer. She has proposed and co‐chaired scientific sessions at the Annual Meeting, including a workshop, a symposium, and a Pre‐Conference. She has also been appointed a member of the Scientific Program Committee and the Awards Nomination Task Force. Most recently, she became the Vice Chair of the Drug Utilization and Outcomes Community. These experiences have benefited her with scientific knowledge and leadership skills. Her advice to the next generation of scientists is to follow her example: “Don't be shy. Fill out the volunteer form every year.” She encourages them to join Networks and Communities that interest them as she did. She urges them to reach out to ASCPT leaders and other volunteers.

Dr. Liu views ASCPT as a forward‐looking organization, indicating that the “Strategic Plan says it all.” She goes on to explain that ASCPT has been influencing and leading the science and best practice in the field through well‐planned scientific sessions at the Annual Meeting, through high‐standard journals, through the active Networks and Communities, through diverse webinar topics, and through collaborations with other relevant organizations.

Model‐informed drug discovery and development to improve the efficiency and success from benchside research to bedside practice is Dr. Liu's passion. She explains that the simple answer to how does what I do impact patient care for her is to “select the right doses, design efficient studies, and design efficient development strategies in collaboration with scientists from other disciplines.” Similar to the progression of drug discovery and development, Dr. Liu's initial career focused on using preclinical and translational pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) to select the right compounds and doses for first‐in‐human studies. However, the right compound and the right first‐in‐human doses did not completely solve the problem of low success rates in drug discovery and development. The next stage of Dr. Liu's career focused on selecting the right doses and optimal designs in early clinical studies using clinical PK/PD to ensure target exposure, target occupancy, and downstream pharmacological activities. This has increased the confidence in decision on dose selection for further efficacy studies or on stopping the compound for further development. 

In the last 6 years, Dr. Liu's focus has been on late stage drug development, such as using modeling and simulation to inform dose selection and study design for phase IIb and phase III studies to ensure high probability of success of differentiated efficacy or safety, or both, dosage recommendation for labeling and in special populations and different ethnic groups, as well as in drug‐drug interactions. She and her team have used modeling and simulations to provide supporting evidence to justify waiver of certain studies or simplified studies to increase efficiency, minimize cost, and make the medicine reach patients faster.

Dr. Liu is working on two main initiatives now. As a member of the IQ consortium—CPLG Pediatrics Working Group—she and her colleagues are advancing the use of innovative approaches, such as extrapolation from a reference population to expedite articulation of dose rationales or replacing randomized clinical trials (RCTs) in children. The objective is to improve drug development in children by sharing knowledge among industry and regulators regarding their experiences and to influence best practice related to pediatric product development. In March of 2018, they published a paper in CPT: Challenges and Opportunities in the Development of Medical Therapies for Pediatric Populations and the Role of Extrapolation

The second initiative is working to bridge the clinical efficacy to cost‐effective patient care. Dr. Liu explains that “superior effectiveness and acceptable cost‐effectiveness have become critical for new innovative medicines to reach patients due competitions in drug development, generic alternatives, and payer policies.” She believes that early integration of comparative effectiveness and cost‐effectiveness in drug development may improve the likelihood of a new drug reaching patients. At the ASCPT 2018 Annual Meeting, Dr. Liu co‐chaired a Pre‐Conference on this topic. She plans on continuing to work with the leaders in the fields of clinical pharmacology, outcome research, and pharmacoeconomics to promote interdisciplinary collaboration.

Dr. Liu became a member of ASCPT in 2003. She currently serves as the Drug Utilization & Outcomes Community Vice Chair.

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