A new vice dean for a new campus
Mansoor A. Khan, R.Ph., Ph.D., has joined the Texas A&M Health Science Center as vice dean of the Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy in Bryan-College Station. Khan’s arrival comes one year after the college, based in Kingsville, expanded to the Bryan-College Station campus to allow for additional student capacity, as well as interdisciplinary education and research opportunities among the Texas A&M community.
As vice dean, Khan is responsible for promoting research and building collaborative and successful partnerships with other Texas A&M Health Science Center components and A&M System institutions, and coordinating the College of Pharmacy academic program and operations on the Bryan-College Station campus.
Khan comes to the college from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where he was director of the Division of Product Quality Research since 2004. “We were the manufacturing science and formulations team that supported policy development, reviews and compliance functions of new drugs, biotech products, and generic drugs at the FDA,” Khan explained, and as the leader of the science group, he oversaw four separate teams: drug delivery systems, chemistry and stability, biotech products, and bioavailbility/bioequivalence.
The science teams were split into two different wings: review and compliance. The review function determines if a drug product or delivery system is safe and effective and recommends approval by the FDA if it is good, and the compliance function determines if the product is in violation of any applicable laws for production and distribution of medications. “Pharmaceutical products are made by different companies in different areas of the globe, and they might change something post-approval, but the patient should get the same product every time,” Khan said. “With our policies, reviews and compliance, we made sure that the marketed products consistently maintained their potency and performance characteristics.”
Khan sees research in the pharmacy school as having two main goals: pre-market collaborative research to create innovative medications and post-market research to assess the performance of already-approved or compounded drug products to ensure that physicians are fully supported for optimal product performance in patients. Khan hopes to address these issues with various colleges and departments across the Texas A&M campus to jump-start new interdisciplinary collaborations among pharmacy faculty.
“In the post-market area, we have a fundamental problem,” Khan said. When patients do not respond to a medication, physicians, pharmacists and nurses assume that it is an individual issue, that due to their genes or other factors, the patients are non-responders. But what about the situations where multiple patients do not respond, or show similar adverse events with the same product?
“The basic underlying assumption is that an FDA-approved product always performs optimally from quality perspective,” Khan said. That might not necessarily be true: a number of factors can affect a drug’s potency and performance, from storage method to environmental conditions, or even manufacturing differences, as several drug products may be made by a number of companies in a variety of countries around the world.
“We want to understand why medications do not work sometimes, and we need an independent body to assess their performance,” Khan said.
Khan came to Texas A&M with a “very passionate mission,” as he puts it: to ensure that patients get consistently effective pharmaceuticals and to help physicians understand how products can be variable. “This will practically implement the health science center’s mission of enhancing the quality of lives of our citizens,” Khan said. To do this, he, along with others at the university, plans to research what happens to various medications when they are exposed to different environmental conditions—from Corpus Christi to Amarillo to Bryan/College Station, as Khan phrases it. “The FDA has allowed me to see these issues with a variety of products that show adverse events and even deaths when products are not controlled with consistent production and stability throughout shelf-life,” Khan said, “and we want to get to the root cause of adverse events and lack of performance when our clinicians observe such problems.” He plans to research the best conditions under which a given therapeutic should be prepared and processed, as well as use powerful, state-of-the-art methods to analyze the quality of drug products themselves.
At the FDA, Khan also conducted research into drug delivery and formulation design. “As pharmacists, we look at products: tablets, capsules, syrups, injections, suspensions, and more,” he said. “I noticed in my job at FDA that it’s a very multidisciplinary area to develop a product. I wanted to be associated with a university that has strong programs in medicine, engineering, veterinary medicine, agriculture, nutrition and basic sciences, and I thought Texas A&M was the perfect place.” Khan hopes to integrate the research from each of these colleges and centers, along with others within Texas A&M, to create practical pharmaceutical products, nutritional supplements and vaccines, and to help alert stakeholders about unlawful and non-performing products.
“Integration and collaboration are key to our success as Aggies,” Khan said. “For example, the FDA approved the first 3D-printed tablet in August. If I went to the pharmacy professors and asked them about 3D printing processes and controls, they might not know very much about it. But if I go to the engineering professors, they would know a lot about the 3D printing technology, but they may not know about chemistry and ingredients and other issues about making a pharmaceutical dosage form.”
Khan has published more than 275 peer-reviewed papers, 25 book chapters, and he has given 250 poster presentations and more than 200 invited presentations around the world. Among numerous other recognitions, Khan has received an outstanding alumni award from St. John’s University College of Pharmacy, where he earned his Ph.D. in industrial pharmacy in 1992.
Prior to joining FDA in 2004, Khan was a professor of pharmaceutics and founding director of the graduate program in the School of Pharmacy at Texas Tech University Health Science Center.
Khan will be teaching classes at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy not because it is required of his position, but because he says he needs to support teaching and mentoring. “I think a good scientist also has to be a good teacher,” he said, “and I genuinely want to help teach and expose our students to 21st century health care issues that require multidisciplinary solutions with cutting-edge science and big data management concepts. Our students will find solutions to complex health care problems.” During his time at the FDA, Khan continued to mentor graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and junior scientists, just as he did at Texas Tech.
“Dr. Khan treats his colleagues, students and everyone else he meets with the utmost respect and fairness,” said Indra K. Reddy, Ph.D., dean of the Rangel College of Pharmacy, who worked with Khan when they both were at Texas Tech University. “I am excited to have the opportunity to work with him again, and I fully expect that he will do an outstanding job as our new vice dean.”
“I don’t think there is any other school in the nation that has the capability, resources and technical know-how that Texas A&M does,” Khan said. “It is not just the basic sciences (physics, chemistry and biology) that develop dosage forms. These disciplines need to be blended with applied, regulatory and clinical research. The addition of the Rangel College of Pharmacy in Bryan-College Station provides that missing piece to the puzzle. If there is any school that can do this pre- and post-market research today, I thought, it would be Texas A&M.”