Dr. Eugene Tarlton

Among many things, every human being currently living shares the Covid 19 pandemic. In our quest to find solutions to this pandemic, it is apparent that we come across vaccines and medications. Pfizer is the most recognizable pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporation that has been fighting this pandemic front and center through the production of the Pfizer vaccination. Despite the unforgiving time difference, Dr. Eugene Tarlton, a member of the Research & Development team at Pfizer in Boulder Colorado, took time from his busy schedule to Zoom in and share his expertise in the field of development, production, and distribution of drugs in the pharma industry.

As an associate research scientist who specializes in medicinal chemistry synthesis development, Dr. Tarlton shared his experience working with a multimillion company with the AUR community. He walked us through the discovery of drugs starting in the 7000- 5000 BC period to the complex evolution of the drug industry in present times. Dr, Tarlton also went over the major milestones in this process of drug discovery such as the establishment of the FDA, the invention of X-rays, the implementation of complex screenings to determine the usability of drugs, and so on. Additionally, we saw a comparison between other major illnesses such as Smallpox, Polio, Measles, HIV, and Chicken Pox. COVID 19 was also put under the microscope to see its similarities and differences with the 1917 Spanish flu/ Swine Flu.

One of the most intriguing parts of the lecture was the breakdown of the process of any drug in terms of time. As explained by Dr, Tarlton, the first stage of production involving the modeling, screening, and the chemistry of the drug takes 3 years. The preclinical stage involving animal safety and toxicity takes 2 years followed by a 7-year clinical study where it is provided to human beings. In the final stages, the drug is put forward for regulatory requirement checks taking up to 2 years making the average production time of a single drug 10 years. Additionally, the whole process is estimated to take $1.93 billion. AUR students also found the discussion on frameworks of production, specifically right to commercial, very interesting. Under this topic, Dr. Tarlton discussed the importance of the study made by his company regarding the consumers in the distribution of drugs.

Overall, the discussion was very interesting and the AUR community is very grateful for having Dr, Eugene Tarlton as a guest lecturer for the Business Program. As always, we look forward to having him back for another lecture in the future.