The experts at 3M Drug Delivery Systems (DDS) are the driving force behind 3M’s proud record of successful innovation. They work tirelessly to create products on the cutting edge of the industry and meet the needs of 3M’s partners. We are pleased to introduce one of those experts to you now. Meet Dr. Dave Hodson, 3M Senior Technical Specialist:
A: I am a senior technical specialist in the Research and Development organization, working on inhalation drug delivery. My role is principally hardware development (inhaler devices, valves, actuators, dose counters and exciting next generation stuff, such as the 3M Intelligent Control Inhaler). Because I don’t have an engineering degree, though, and because working with machinery and computer design packages are not part of my job responsibilites, I have gravitated towards front end or early stage innovation and technology strategy development. I love dreaming up new ideas and kicking off “15% time” projects. So, I divide my time at work between idea creation, early stage development, helping our attorneys with patent drafting, and supporting our key inhalation hardware development projects. It’s a fascinating mix of activities, and I appreciate the fact that I have some very clever colleagues to bounce ideas off.
A: Well, I knew nothing about inhalation or pharmaceuticals; I joined 3M for love! After I had finished my Ph.D., I was working for a company called Plessey in Northamptonshire in the English Midlands, on the challenge of putting lattice-mismatched III-V semiconductors, such as Indium Gallium Arsenide, onto Indium Phosphide substrates or even silicon substrates. The only trouble was, I was also mismatched, as my then-girlfriend (now wife) was living about fifty miles further north, near Nottingham. British traffic being what it was (and is!), one of us had to move. Naturally, I lost. I thus found myself looking for jobs in her area, and using an old careers directory, I chanced upon a company in Loughborough called Riker Labs., and I applied to them. To my surprise, the reply came from 3M. It was a ‘No’ – they had no jobs available, but would keep my application on file. Seven days later, they called me for an interview, and the rest is history. Quite ancient history, as I’m still here 29 years later! Oh, and I proposed to my girlfriend a week after I got the job offer.
A: Having arrived randomly in the world of inhalation drug delivery, I quickly realized that it was a field with a lot to offer to a generalist like me. My first degree spanned physics, chemistry, crystallography, materials science and mathematics, so I’m quite a Jack of all Trades. I love the fact that the development of pMDI devices encompasses so many disciplines – all the above and more, in fact. There are endless opportunities to apply new approaches from different areas of science and engineering. That excites me – after 29 years, I can still say that no two days have ever been quite the same.
A: I guess it’s the same as my previous answer. There is always new stuff to learn – and it’s amazing how apparently disconnected ideas can prove to be useful spurs to progress. My mother often said that every fact you ever learn would come in useful somewhere, at some time, and I’m beginning to think she was right. The other day, for example, I was reading about blockchain and even that triggered thoughts as to its possible relevance for data management in our next generation ‘Smart’ inhalers. Whatever technology you can think of, I bet there’s some potential link to delivering drugs to the lungs or nasal passages.
A: I would say that my main hobby is freefall skydiving strapped to a live crocodile. However, it isn’t – but that’s the sort of thing people usually say in these things, isn’t it? My favorite way to relax is writing novels. After five years of effort, I published my first book on Amazon last year. It’s a work of dry humor called “Hopping for Unconsciousness,” and I’m now working on the sequel, which will hopefully be much quicker to write. I’ll tell you something – I have a huge respect for my sales colleagues: I now know just how hard it can be to sell even the very best of products!