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Charles G Thiel Award

In 2006, on the 50th anniversary of the commercialization of the pressurized Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI), and in celebration and recognition of the foundational work done by Mr. Charles G. Thiel in the field of pulmonary drug delivery, the VCU School of Pharmacy established the Charles G. Thiel Award for outstanding research and discovery in respiratory drug delivery. This award is sponsored by 3M Drug Delivery Systems.

The Charles G. Thiel Award Committee are accepting nominations for 2018

The Charles G. Thiel Award sponsored by 3M Drug Delivery Systems will be presented in 2018 and at future RDD meetings held in the USA to scientists who have pioneered significant developments in one or more aspects of science and technology surrounding respiratory drug delivery. Nomination packages are due November 30, 2017, and will be judged by a panel of independent experts. The successful award recipient should be able to attend RDD to accept the award in person (expenses paid by Virginia Commonwealth University).

Award winners may have performed fundamental research leading to the invention / development of a new inhaler, have created and pioneered new and essential test methods or have studied the behavior (ADME, action) of drugs and / or formulations in the lung or nasal passages leading to new knowledge and understanding and/or the alleviation of disease. The Award Committee evaluates candidates in terms of the impact and longevity of their scientific accomplishments and the degree to which these accomplishments have been recognized by their peers.

The nomination package should include:

  1. Letter of Nomination
  2. Two Supporting Letters - at least one from someone outside the nominee's home institution
  3. Summary of Nominee's Major Accomplishments (not to exceed 1 page single spaced text).
  4. Nominee's CV or, if the nomination is confidential (without the knowledge of the award nominee), a complete listing of the references available from a PubMed search
  5. Biosketches from the nominator and each supporter

Nominations should be mailed to RDD on or before November 30, 2017:

Respiratory Drug Delivery
Virginia Biotechnology Research Park
800 East Leigh Street, Suite 206-10
Richmond, VA 23219

Phone: (804) 827-1490
Fax: (804) 828-8277
Email: info@rddonline.com

Previous Awardees

2016 - Warren Finlay

Warren FinlayThe 2016 Charles G. Thiel award was presented to Professor Warren Finlay, University of Alberta for outstanding Research and Discovery in Respiratory Drug Delivery.

Warren is recognized as a first class teacher, author, educator, researcher and pharmaceutical scientist – as well as a leader and innovator. Warren is best known for his work developing the Alberta Idealized Throat, a manufacturable metal throat, with comparable fluid dynamic and aerosol capture properties to the adult population median. A pediatric version of the Alberta throat is also available.  Because of the thoroughness with which he approached the problem of extrathoracic aerosol deposition, Warren has not only influenced industry scientists but also impacted the development of commercial products known to us all – inhalers from companies including Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis and Chiesi. Unusual for an engineer - he has also tested many of his deposition theories in humans using imaging techniques such as MRI.

2014 - Dieter Hochrainer

Dieter HochrainerThe 2014 Charles G. Thiel award was presented to Dr. Dieter Hochrainer for his significant role in the development of Handihaler and Respimat, two innovative devices in the field. Handihaler is a very successful high resistance capsule based DPI that was the first device to replace gelatin capsules with polymeric capsules to improve inhaler performance. Dieter led the design development team for Respimat and was personally responsible for the studies that defined Respimat’s resistance, spray duration, patient interface and nozzle design - this was one of the first aqueous spray systems to use precision engineering to reduce droplet size and control the respirable dose. In addition, he has served the scientific community serving as Editor in Chief for Journal of Aerosol Science and on the editorial board for Journal of Aerosol Medicine, as well as contributing to international consortia and working groups to benefit aerosol science and respiratory drug delivery. Dieter combines the ingenious developer and the benevolent scientist in one person - he is the German Charlie Thiel!

2012 - Andrew R. Clark

Andy ClarkIn 2012, the Charles G. Thiel award was presented to Andrew R. Clark, Novartis, San Francisco. Andy has an illustrious career and pioneered inhaler developments through scientific understanding and publication across disciplines (physics, chemistry, biology and medicine). He has helped develop some of the most innovative aerosol products of the last two decades including Pulmozyme, the first inhaled protein, Exubera, the first inhaled systemic protein and TOBI Podhaler, the first inhaled dry powder antibiotic, tobramycin.

2010 - Michael T. Newhouse

Mike NewhouseIn 2010, the Charles G. Thiel award was presented to Michael T. Newhouse of Hamilton, Ontario. Mike's contributions to the area as a physician, scientist, inventor and educator have improved the lives of many children and adult patients suffering from lung disease. Mike pioneered the design, manufacture, research into and use of AeroChamber - the device that is now a mainstay of asthma therapy and enables patients to use pressurized metered dose inhalers successfully. Mike has made a substantial contribution to our field as a practicing clinician with an outstanding knowledge of pulmonary physiology and an intuitive understanding of aerosol physics - he continuously reminds the aerosol science community to do 'research meaningful to clinical practice'.

2008 - Lars Borgström

Lars BorgstromIn 2008, the Charles G. Thiel award was presented to Lars Borgström of AstraZeneca. Lars has been at the forefront of correlating and translating in vitro performance of inhaled products to in vivo situations. He has developed and validated charcoal block, isotope labeling and pharmacokinetic techniques for measuring lung deposition, and used these methods to quantify lung deposition in different patient groups. Lars has made a substantial contribution to our understanding of the factors that influence inhaled drug delivery. He has accomplished this at the same time as holding line management responsibilities at AstraZeneca, and an academic position at the University of Uppsala.

2006 - Charles G. Thiel

Charlie ThielIn 2006, the Charles G. Thiel award was presented to Charlie Thiel himself. Charlie has had a long and distinguished career in the industry. He was a joint inventor of the MDI, he designed an early cascade impactor and invented a novel metering valve to improve dosing reproducibility. His passion for high speed photography also gave us insight into the behavior of aerosol sprays. His dedication to the area is made evident by his continued contributions to the United States Pharmacopeia long past retirement.

About Charles G. Thiel

In 1956, the world's first pressurized MDI was introduced. Invented by Charles Thiel and two colleagues at Riker Laboratories, the MDI enabled asthmatics to administer repeated inhaled dosages of medi­cine without cumbersome refilling procedures. The idea was born after the daughter of a Riker president asked "Why can't they put my asthma medicine in a spray can, like they do hair spray?" The invention of the MDI revolutionized the field of respiratory drug delivery and today, over 70 million patients worldwide rely on these devices for their asthma treatment.

In a 46 year career as a Division Scientist in what became in 1970, the Drug Delivery Systems Division of 3M Pharmaceuticals, Charles Thiel recalls one truly defining moment. He was visiting as an invited speaker. After giving a lecture, he was approached by a physician from the audience who gave him a bear hug and told him “If it hadn't been for your invention, I'd be dead.” The physician had suffered from asthma since early childhood.

Mr. Thiel graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara in 1954 with a BS in Chemistry and joined Riker Laboratories, then a subsidiary of Rexall Drug. Armed with a chemistry degree, he started work that spring in a laboratory with a handful of other employees in a non-air-conditioned building in Los Angeles. Thiel's first job involved iso­lating compounds from Indian snakeroot that were used in blood pressure medications.

Two years later he started his work on inhalers. Riker was the first company to develop pressurized MDIs. Thiel changed the inhaler formulation design from one using 50 per­cent alcohol (which burned patients' nostrils when administered as a nasal spray) to one using an inno­vative suspension of the medication in a liquefied gas propellant - a design still in worldwide use today. The new design was also more efficient than previous methods at delivering medica­tion to the lungs. 3M, which still develops MDIs based on Thiel's design, acquired Riker Laboratories in 1970. The MDI revolutionized the treatment of respiratory illness and laid the foundation for what has now become a growing pharmaceutical specialty - the field of respiratory drug delivery.


Photographs used with permission.

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