Nicotine Science Center 2014
Activities and News

Since its inauguration in the spring of 2014, the level of activity within the Nicotine Science Centre (NSC) has been high. NSC employees, led by Program Manager Kent Albin Nielsen, PhD, have participated in two major international conferences, the Scientific Advisory Board has conducted three meetings, including the one conducted in connection with the opening event, and a new exciting research project has been launched in collaboration with the University of Copenhagen.

The official opening of the NSC took place on May 2nd, on the premises of Fertin Pharma in Vejle.  The opening was visited by leading scientists and politicians, and among the speakers were Vice Chairman and former Danish Tax Minister for the Liberal Party, Kristian Jensen, and M.D. Ph.D., Philip Tønnesen. 

Kristian Jensen described the launch of the NSC as proof of Fertin Pharma’s strong commitment to innovation, and congratulated Fertin Pharma’s transformation from a manufacturer and developer of regular chewing gum to a world leader in the manufacturing and development of medicated chewing gum. 

Chief Physician, Danish Center for Sleep Medicine, Glostrup Hospital (Denmark), Philip Tønnesen underlined the importance of increased scientific insight into nicotine and its delivery in order to improve the likelihood of successful smoking cessation, and described the NSC as an important part of this effort.

The Scientific Advisory Board
The opening took place shortly after it was announced that the NSC’s Scientific Advisory Board would consist of three highly acclaimed scientists: the aforementioned Philip Tønnesen, Chief Physician, (Chairman), Andreas Bernkop-Schnürch, Professor, Head of Center for Chemistry and Biomedicine, University of Innsbruck (Austria) and Rainer H. Müller, Professor of Pharmaceutics, Freie Universität Berlin (Germany).

The Scientific Advisory Board has held three meetings in 2014 – in May, June and October. The two first meetings featured presentations on smoking cessation, NRT-products, oral drug delivery systems and buccal absorption. 

The agenda for the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meeting 28-29th October focused on expanding Fertin Pharma's fundamental understanding of nicotine, covering topics such as oral mucosal absorption of nicotine, new delivery systems, consumer surveys and medication adherence.  

Two external capacities participated in the SAB meeting; Associate Professor Jette Jacobsen from the Department of Pharmacy, University of Copenhagen and Assistant Professor Shellie A. Boudreau from the Department of Health Science and Technology, Aalborg University. Jette Jacobsen is an expert on drug delivery in the oral cavity and the intestinal (lymphatic) system. Shellie A. Boudreau is an expert on oral neurophysiology of sensory and motor systems. Their involvement and expertise gave a new dimension to the discussion of the fundamental challenges and opportunities Fertin Pharma is facing with its new research initiatives.

Important scientific progress was made during the meeting, narrowing down the essential requirements to be achieved for the next generation of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products.

The next SAB meeting is scheduled to take place spring 2015.

The NSC has participated in two conferences in 2014; the GFN Conference in Warszaw (June 27nd – 28th), and the 15th Annual Meeting of the SRNT Europe in Santiago de Compostela (September 18th  - 20th).

GFN is a Global Forum on Nicotine. The aim of this year’s Conference was to:

1) examine the current state of the debate about the use of nicotine across the globe 
2) critically examine the science relating to the safety of nicotine
3) allow politicians, scientists, manufacturers, distributors and consumers to exchange views
4) facilitate an ongoing dialogue between the different sectors 

SRNT Europe is the European branch of the international Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. At the Annual Meeting, leading researchers on nicotine and tobacco discussed: 

1) current knowledge about the e-cigarette
2) individual differences related to nicotine/tobacco addiction
3) biomarkers of nicotine intake and metabolism

At the Annual Meeting, Kent Albin Nielsen presented results from the research conducted in collaboration with Aalborg University – research that aims at identifying the basic mechanisms in the mouth cavity leading to pain, sensitization and vasomotor responses initiated by the intake of nicotine from NRT products. 


New Projects
On August 1. 2014, a new PhD-project was launched within the NSC, in collaboration with the University of Copenhagen. The hypothesis of the project is, that by using high-resolution MALDI mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MS) or cryosectioning, it is possible to elucidate the position and character of the 


permeability barrier to nicotine. The aim is to find ways to increase the fraction of nicotine absorbed in the oral cavity, and to increase the rate of absorption in order to increase efficacy and decrease gastrointestinal adverse effects related to nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products. The project is led by cand. pharm. Eva Marxen (28), a native of Denmark and a graduate of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen. 


Outlook for 2015: 
The level of activity is going to remain high in 2015. At the moment, participation in three conferences is planned: The 6th Global Drug Delivery & Formulation Summit, The 2015 SRNT Annual Meeting, and the AAPS conference (American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists).

Furthermore, three new project launches are planned for March, August and November, and two articles (from research projects with the University of Aalborg and University of Copenhagen), are going to be published. 

The meetings in the Scientific Advisory Board are planned for May and October.