2009 UW Honorary Citation Report – Van Campen

Citation recipient Dr. Lynn Van Campen with Dean Jeanette Roberts

Citation recipient Dr. Lynn Van Campen (left) with Dean Jeanette Roberts (right)

Dr. Lynn Van Campen had always liked math and science in high school and college. Given the opportunity to pursue independent research with her favorite professor of biochemistry at Mary Washington College, her choice became clear, and she took every chemistry course they offered. Not keen to end up working at an oil refinery in Houston, however, Lynn happily came upon the opportunity to join Pfizer one day in 1970, on the beach with her parents in New London, Connecticut. Three weeks later, she joined Pfizer as an analytical chemist. A few months later, the next opportunity arose to move into the new department of “physical pharmacy” there—said to be the first of its kind in industry, its name coined a few years earlier right here at the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy.

Over the following six years, a young cadre of “Pharmaceutics” PhD’s had gathered at Pfizer. Lynn found herself inspired yet frustrated by what they could think and do that she couldn’t for lack of knowledge in an area that had long intrigued her, and began to consider graduate school. Encouraged by her colleagues, the only question was “where.” The answer was loud and clear: the only place to study pharmaceutics was Wisconsin!

In August 1976 she moved to Madison and set foot on campus on a sunny Saturday afternoon for the first time. Her host and “guide” for the day was none other than then-Dean George Zografi who showed her around the School and introduced her to those working busily in the labs. Over the following five years, Lynn had the unusual opportunity to work with both Dean Zografi and Professor Jens Carstensen as co-advisors studying the phenomenon of deliquescence. After earning her Masters degree, largely based on her design and construction of a unique glass vacuum rack apparatus able to control accurately the exposure of test solids to water vapor, she launched into the experiments that would support her doctoral research. With the help of Professor Zografi as well as Professor Gordon Amidon, Lynn devised a quantitative relationship from first principles that described the kinetics of deliquescent behavior—the first of its kind. This work earned the 1984 Ebert Prize awarded by the American Pharmaceutical Association’s Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Completing her PhD in 1981, she rejoined industry back in Connecticut, this time with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals. Over the next 7 years, she was responsible for the development of solid and inhalation dosage forms, their related technology transfer to production, and led a joint U.S.-Germany protein development project team. Recruited to a small biotech firm in Colorado to start up a protein formulation group, she took their first product into clinical studies. After little more than a year there, she was enticed to return to Boehringer as Director of Pharmaceutics where she became responsible for all dosage form development, technology transfer, and clinical product manufacturing and packaging in the U.S.

In 1996 she was recruited to a young company named Inhale Therapeutic Systems, now known as Nektar Therapeutics, to become their first VP of Pharmaceutical Development. There she helped to grow the company nearly ten-fold at a time when the key corporate product development program was that of inhaled insulin, in time partnered with Pfizer. The dramatic failure of Exubera to develop a market after approval by both the FDA and in Europe is, according to Lynn, as close as she has ever gotten to the front page of the New York Times!

Once again the beneficiary of Professor Zografi’s attention, Lynn was delighted to return to the Madison campus in late 2003 to reinvigorate and lead the Zeeh Pharmaceutical Experiment Station here in the School of Pharmacy. Its mission was right up her alley: educating students and practitioners in the process and science of drug development, and providing related laboratory and consulting services to University labs, area start-up companies, and the pharmaceutical industry. Having hired excellent Zeeh Station leadership and staff for the long term, Dr. Van Campen retired from the school in 2007 and maintains private consulting and Advisory Board ties with the pharmaceutical industry.

Over the years, Lynn’s other contributions include serving the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists as Co-Chair of a strategic planning initiative that resulted in the realignment of Sections which for the first time enabled the Association to serve those members who work in the manufacturing sciences and engineering. She has written several book chapters, and presented numerous talks and lectures in various conferences and short courses. She currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Product Quality Research Institute.