Smart science to improve lives™

Spotlight on Kritika Bajaj

Highlighting the scientists and teams who are involved in our latest product launch, Virodex™, replacements for Triton™ X-100, we sat down with Kritika Bajaj and asked her about her involvement around the launch, her thoughts on the project, and her experiences around promoting this new range of detergents for bioprocessing applications. 

Kritika Bajaj is a research scientist with six years of experience spanning academia and industry. Holding a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Louisville, Kentucky, Kritika specialises in organic and inorganic synthesis, purification, and analytical techniques. Her work at Croda Pharma involves developing cutting-edge strategies for drug formulation excipients and fostering collaborations with external industry partners. Kritika is recognised for her detail-oriented and collaborative approach, making her a valuable asset in solving interdisciplinary research challenges.

Tell us more about how you found yourself studying science and what drove you to the Pharma industry?

My initial exposure to laboratory work during high school involved staining an onion peel to examine plant cells under a microscope. This inaugural experiment left a lasting impression on me, influencing my decision to pursue majors aligned with scientific interest. I selected chemistry as my major for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in India. It wasn't until the final year of my master's program that I found myself back in the lab space. A project focused on synthesizing APIs reignited my passion for research, ultimately motivating me to pursue a Ph.D. For my Ph.D. thesis, I worked on the design and development of copper complexes that serve as an API for anticancer applications. Fuelled by my passion for research and the desire to contribute meaningfully to society, I recognised that the most impactful translation of this commitment lay in joining the pharmaceutical industry. Here, I am dedicated to spearheading innovation, bridging the gap from the laboratory bench to the patient's bedside.

How do you see Virodex™ supporting the businesses promise to “Empowering biologics delivery”?

Croda strives on empowering biologics delivery. We have done it in the past with contributing significant ingredients to the COVID-19 vaccines globally and Virodex™ is yet another example for the promise we make. Triton™ X-100’s ban in Europe has led biomanufacturers around the world to find viable alternatives that perform equivalent to Triton™ X-100 without posing similar risks. I believe that the timely delivery of the Virodex™ range of detergents to replace Triton™ X-100 in bioprocessing is instrumental to our promise. We're already witnessing enthusiasm for these detergents in the field, and our goal is to sustain that motivation.

Kritika, what was your involvement in the Virodex™ project?

The Virodex™ project will always be very special to me as this was the first time that I had the opportunity to work with diverse teams and successfully launch the products into the market. As a part of our dynamic team driving this initiative, I have supported the transitioning of Virodex™ range of detergents from lab to GMP facility that includes but is not limited to technical transfer and product safety testing. Very recently, I presented a poster ‘Sustainable compendial grade GMP detergent substitutes for Triton™ X-100 for bioprocessing applications’ at ACS Fall 2023 as a part of promoting the product launch. The vibrant customer engagement witnessed during the poster session was truly exhilarating. It was gratifying to observe the excitement surrounding the product on which I had a direct and meaningful impact. As part of our efforts to amplify the project's reach, Bradley Haltli, Alexandra Inglis, and I hosted a webinar. During the session, we introduced our innovative solution designed to replace Triton™ X-100, showcasing the Virodex™ range tailored for bioprocessing. This initiative aimed to not only promote the project but also to provide a comprehensive understanding of our cutting-edge solutions. 

If you had to give one piece of advice to someone in the research field, what would you tell them?

One invaluable lesson I've learnt from my research journey is the necessity of patience and unwavering consistency. The setbacks often outweigh triumphs, emphasising the crucial role of resilience. It's imperative to acknowledge that a negative result is not a defeat but rather a distinct outcome. It signals that the current path may not be the one to success; hence, it becomes an opportunity to recalibrate, redirect, and forge a new course that inevitably unravels the answers sought.

Let’s end on a fun fact! Tell us more about your hobbies and what you do outside of the lab? Who is Kritika without the lab coat?

I often describe myself as an artist confined within the confines of a chemist’s realm. Outside the lab, you will find me experimenting with baking, especially to challenge myself with new flavours that I am not used to working with. I have a deep love for painting, and I actively work with acrylics, gouache, and water-based paints on canvases as well as in dedicated art workbooks. Beyond my artistic endeavours, I harbour a profound love for plants; I have to almost always stop myself from buying more each time I go out for grocery runs.  

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