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Hamner Institutes and UNC Launch International Drug Safety Institute
Date:6/15/2009

Scientific Collaboration Aims At Improving Drug Safety, Advancing Drug Development

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., June 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have announced the launch of The Institute for Drug Safety Sciences, strategically located on The Hamner's 56-acre campus in RTP. The Institute will be led by Dr. Paul Watkins, one of the world's leading experts in drug-induced liver injury who currently serves as the Verne S. Caviness Distinguished Professor of Medicine at UNC. As founding director for this innovative research Institute, Watkins has assembled a core group of internal scientists and academic partners to develop new global drug safety initiatives in collaboration with the bio/pharmaceutical industry, the NIH and FDA. A major initial focus will be to develop new computational models and in vitro assays, starting with evaluating liver toxicity and expanding into cardiovascular and kidney drug side effects.

The Institute for Drug Safety Sciences, which includes a 14,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art research laboratory, was unveiled at a grand opening on June 11. The event featured a keynote from Janet Woodcock, Director of FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, which oversees the approval and regulation of all U.S. medications. The June 11 event built on a MOU signed by The Hamner and UNC in April 2008 and a $10M funding commitment established in September 2008. The Hamner-UNC partnership capitalizes on the scientific strengths of a leading university and an independent research institute, which are committed to accelerating advances in human therapeutics and public health, both in N.C. and internationally.

In March 2009, scientists at the Institute for Drug Safety Sciences launched their first research initiative in the study of drug-induced liver injury
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SOURCE The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences
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