Larry Augsburger, PhD, professor emeritus at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, has received the 2012 Distinguished Service Award of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS), one of the highest honors bestowed by the group of 12,000 members in more than 70 countries.
Augsburger is internationally recognized for his research and mentoring in pharmaceutics, drug process engineering, and in dietary supplements.
He has been a leader in original research that has enabled modernizing some key U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policies. One of his achievements was directing University of Maryland-FDA collaborative research programs that supported the development of the critically important FDA guidances on scale-up and post-approval changes (SUPAC) for drugs in the market. Augsburger and his team showed that certain formulation and process changes in drug preparations such as tablets and capsules result in significant differences in how a drug is absorbed and becomes available to the human body in order to exert its therapeutic effect, while others do not.
"Dr. Augsburger's outstanding research achievements, with their significant global impact, combined with his dedicated service to AAPS, have significantly and meaningfully advanced both the pharmaceutical sciences and the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists," says Glenn Van Buskirk, PhD, managing member of the Nonclinical Drug Development Consulting Services, LLC.
At the University of Maryland, Augsburger has served as the School of Pharmacy's Shangraw Professor of Industrial Pharmacy and Pharmaceutics, chair of the Department of Pharmaceutics, and director of pharmaceutics graduate programs. Before joining the University of Maryland faculty in 1969, he was a senior research scientist for Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc. of New Brunswick, N.J.
"Dr. Augsburger has been a trailblazer in ensuring that the science of industrial pharmaceutics is integral to the drug development process," says Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FAAPS, FCP, dean and professor at the School of Pharmacy.
He served as an executive officer of AAPS from 1999 to 2002 and as the group's president in 1999. As president, Augsburger put a plan in place to help assure there would be adequate pharmacy education and a steady supply of qualified pharmaceutical scientists for the future.
At AAPS, Augsburger also focused on a national issue at that time concerning the quality of dietary supplements, also known as nutraceuticals, and the development of suitable standards and tests by which to demonstrate quality. He recalls, "There was concern that since they were not regulated like drugs, and were being judged more like foods, adequate consideration was not being given to the establishment of suitable quality and performance standards for these products and the development of qualified methods for their development and manufacture. My feeling was that there was no one better than pharmaceutical scientists to address these issues."
Now retired from the School's faculty, Augsburger continues to write and consult and observe the drug development industry.
Among his awards are the International Pharmaceutical Federation Industrial Pharmacy medal, the FDA Commissioner's Special Citation, the AAPS Research Achievement Award, the AAPS Outstanding Educator Award, and the AAPS Dale E. Wurster Research Award in Pharmaceutics. In 2001, he was selected the University of Maryland Researcher of the Year, the highest research award of the Baltimore campus.