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University of Connecticut Participates In National Effort
To Increase Funding For Pharmaceutical Research and Development

Released: February 25, 2009

Release # 09022

Contact:

Colin Poitras, Media Relations
(860) 486-4656 Email: colin.poitras@uconn.edu

Timothy Stobierski, Communications Assistant
(860) 486-0878 Email: Timothy.stobierski@uconn.edu

STORRS, CT — As a national leader in pharmaceutical science and engineering, the University of Connecticut supports efforts by the non-profit National Institute for Pharmaceutical Technology and Education (NIPTE) to improve the quality of pharmaceuticals and to lower their costs.

To that end, Robert L. McCarthy, Dean of the University of Connecticut’s School of Pharmacy, is in Washington D.C. today (Wed. Feb. 25, 2009)  meeting with members of Congress in an attempt to secure additional funding for pharmaceutical research and development.

McCarthy is part of a group of representatives from NIPTE that traveled to Washington, D.C. this week. The ultimate goal of the meetings is to increase funding for research that will enable the pharmaceutical industry to develop, manufacture, and deliver its products more efficiently, more safely, and at a lower cost to consumers.

UConn is currently one of the few institutions in the nation with a strong emphasis in pharmaceutical technology and manufacturing science. The university is a member of NIPTE and it is a major contributor to NIPTE programs. UConn’s recent success in obtaining an endowment from the world’s largest research-based biomedical and pharmaceutical company, Pfizer Inc., to establish the Pfizer Distinguished Endowed Chair in Pharmaceutical Technology is evidence of the university’s prowess in the field, and of the importance of pharmaceutical technology to industry.

Currently, the translation of innovative therapies to deliverable products relies substantially on outdated science and manufacturing methods that are failing to keep pace with the underlying progress in medical science and posing a risk to public health. Investments in basic manufacturing research are important for increasing the quality and cost-effectiveness of pharmaceutical production, as well as to give manufacturers incentives to continue manufacturing their products in the United States.

“These meetings will bring to light that we are currently lacking the fundamental science of development and manufacturing of pharmaceuticals,” said Prabir Basu, Executive Director of NIPTE. “We hope as a result of these meetings that the FDA will be able to fund more grants to allow for basic manufacturing science research that will be available to manufacturers, academics, and regulators. Ultimately, these advances will lead to manufacturing savings and improved quality of pharmaceuticals.”

The state of Connecticut stands to benefit from advances in pharmaceutical technology due to the state’s unusual concentration of industries focused in the field.

UConn faculty, Dr. Michael Pikal, Ph.D. – who holds the Pfizer Chair – and Dr. Robin Bogner, Ph.D., have played an integral role in NIPTE’s work as both researchers and committee members. Drs. Pikal and Bogner were major contributors to the NIPTE research and education roadmaps, and both were also part of the research team whose work was recently funded by grants from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to NIPTE. In 2008, Pikal led a team that discovered a way to make a specialized clotting component used to treat bleeding disorders. The technology was patented.

NIPTE works in conjunction with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its 11 U.S. member universities, including the University of Connecticut, to enhance the way pharmaceutical products are being developed and manufactured by increasing the quality and education practices used.

The mission of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Connecticut is to bring together a diverse group of faculty, staff, and students to advance the quality of health care by providing outstanding professional and graduate education, pioneering research in the pharmaceutical sciences, and committing to excellence in pharmacist-directed patient care. For over 80 years, the school has distinguished itself by educating leaders in pharmacy and the pharmaceutical sciences. As a school of pharmacy based at a research intensive university, professional and graduate students have the opportunity to be taught and mentored by faculty pursuing cutting edge research in the pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy practice. The school boasts exceptional graduate programs in medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutics, and pharmacology/toxicology.

 

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