The University of Iowa is part of a national consortium that has been awarded a five-year grant worth up to $35-million. U-I vice president for research and economic development, Jordan Cohen, says the grant is shared by schools that have experience in pharmacy research.
He says it is a first of its kind funding mechanism from the F.D.A. for manufacturing science for developing new more efficient, effective and more rapidly developed drug products. Cohen says it provides a unique opportunity for the school to compete for these funds.
Cohen says the strongest component of their program is their F.D.A. approved manufacturing facility that develops products for clinical trials of new drugs. He says it has been in place since 1975. Cohen says the goal is to find ways to get new drugs to patients faster.
Cohen says they hope one of the benefits of the program will be a shorter time to develop the drugs, which will make them more cost efficient. He says making the pharmaceuticals is not the same as turning out other products. “We’re talking about the necessary science that creates a dosage form, say a tablet or a capsule or even an injection, so it’s a little different than mass production,” Cohen says.
All the schools participating also have engineering schools that will help them with the effort. Cohen says it’s hard to guess exactly how much of the grant money might come to the U-I, but he says they believe they are prepared to be very competitive in seeking the funds.