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Meet the team at Cambridge Design Partnership – a brief profile of the experts, engineers and interesting people that work here. This month we’re talking to Caroline Zakrzewski, a drug delivery devices expert.

1. Why did you join Cambridge Design Partnership?
I’ve been very lucky in my career to have worked on drug delivery devices from concept stage right up to commercialisation.  Recently my roles have been focused on the later stages of manufacturing scale up and preparation for commercial launch which I’ve enjoyed, but I missed the excitement of the research and front end innovation stages.  CDP have a strong front end innovation capability, unlike many other consultancies, and my knowledge and big pharma experience means I can really contribute to those projects.

2. What background do you come from and how do you apply this knowledge to your current role?
I gained my MChem degree from Durham University after which I started out in analytical chemistry in support of drug delivery devices.  I quickly got distracted by the mechanical elements of the devices and how to make them perform more effectively and reliably.  This lead naturally into quality and the way devices are designed and manufactured, whether it be specifying and testing devices to meet certain ISO standards or working to GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice).  Along the way I gained my MSc degree in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing from the University of Manchester.  It seemed a natural progression to bring this range of experience to the quality group at CDP. 

3. What interesting projects are you working on at the moment?
The range of projects that I’m involved with is amazing, drawing on a wide range of my knowledge and experience.  CDP take client confidentiality very seriously so I can’t say much but I am enjoying being involved in the quality initiative creating CDP’s new ISO 13485 approved small scale manufacturing capability.

4. What do you see as the hot trends in your area at the moment and what is coming up in the future?
One of the hot trends in drug delivery devices that is generating a lot of discussion is connectivity.  What exactly this means is also open to interpretation; is it about a better user interface to encourage patient compliance, will it involve collecting and trending patient data, or is there a disruptive technology that we’re not aware of yet.  At CDP we believe the degree of connectivity needs to have a real benefit for the patient as well as the manufacturer and that there may need to be degrees of connectivity within a product range to suit different demographics.

5. Do you have any hobbies outside work?
I love to be active outside work and when I’m not pottering around on my allotment or in my garden I can often be found running around Cambridge, occasionally getting a medal in the process.  I only started running a couple of years ago, primarily to keep up with my son, and am gradually improving – as with lots of things it takes practice and patience.  Running’s given me so much more than just fitness and I now volunteer as one of the Run Directors at  Cambridge junior parkrun.  Watching the children get so much pleasure from running and such a sense of achievement when they complete the 2km course always brings a smile to my face on a Sunday morning.

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