The International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics (ISSX) is an association that fosters and encourages inter-disciplinary, innovative science relating to the disposition, metabolism, and biological effects of drugs and other xenobiotics. Each year, ISSX offers its community activities to support, promote, and advance science worldwide, but due to COVID-19, the organization had to rethink how to bring its members together to continue to support its mission. In 2021, ISSX held a virtual workshop, "Translation of in vitro ADMET Science to in vivo: Current Perspectives and Challenges," which was jointly sponsored by ISSX and the International Consortium for Innovation and Quality in Pharmaceutical Development (IQ). The workshop was originally planned as an in-person event to promote training and discussion among both ISSX and IQ Consortium members. To safely gather this community, ISSX converted the initial two-day workshop to a virtual four-day event.
The ISSX and IQ Consortium workshop was an opportunity for scientists from regulatory agencies, academia, and industry to discuss contemporary topics in applied small-molecule enzyme and transporter research. This specific workshop reviewed the laboratory and analytical challenges associated with studying enzymes and transporters in vitro. It also provided solutions and best practices in the translation of in vitro ADMET data to in vivo drug disposition and clinical drug-drug interactions (DDIs). Without this opportunity to convene, members would not be able to stay current on the challenges in each research area, learn the most up-to-date industry practices, or exchange perspectives and ideas across regulatory, academic, and industrial spaces.
The event was developed with the help of the Workshop Organizing Committee, a group of ISSX and IQ Consortium volunteers consisting of senior scientists with a variety of connections and experiences planning scientific presentations. These volunteers were also familiar with virtual meetings and made certain the program was flexible enough for attendees to join lectures in the morning and networking sessions in the afternoon. Morning lectures were pre-recorded, enabling a more engaging Q&A between speakers and attendees and improving real-time interaction.
Organizers acknowledged the likelihood of Zoom fatigue and made certain that workshop attendees were fully engaged while at home or in their offices. Attendees had the option to either join only the morning session with the speakers or for the entirety of the workshop. The daily workshop program consisted of interactive sessions, rapid-fire talks, and roundtable discussions. Interactive virtual poster sessions and networking opportunities were also held throughout the workshop. These interactive sessions served as an opportunity for attendees to ask questions, share their experiences, and connect with other scientists. The rapid fire-talks focused on presentations about novel approaches and data chosen from submissions on the poster sessions. Lastly, the roundtable discussions enabled members to network and discuss relevant topics.
The ISSX and IQ Consortium workshop met the needs of members and helped ISSX accomplish its mission to advance research and education. The workshop’s overall model leveraged a small staff and volunteers, which helped to drive its success while keeping it low cost. ISSX plans to use this model for future virtual events.
The 2021 ISSX and IQ Consortium workshop had the highest revenue and registration numbers the organization has seen in the last three years, proving the importance of organizations diversifying their member offerings and revenue opportunities. ISSX budgeted for 200 attendees to produce an estimate of $86,000 in revenue. This amount was budgeted conservatively to guarantee there was a high turn rate in profits and expenses did not exceed revenue. The final attendee registration number exceeded goals by 49 percent and total revenue exceeded projections by 28 percent. After receiving positive feedback from attendees and reviewing the final profit, ISSX aims to model future virtual workshops after the ISSX and IQ Consortium workshop for 2022.