Researchers at Georgia Tech have teamed up to launch a new research center for drug development.

Called the Center for Drug Design, development and Delivery, or CD4, the center is focus on ways to improve interdisciplinary efforts for pharmaceutical development.

More than 20 faculty members across six different academic areas are involved. They hope to bring a more coordinated approach to Georgia Tech’s work with industry.

“There are currently two sources of funding: the U.S. Department of Education, which supports the educational component through Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need, and internal Georgia Tech funds, which support getting the center started,” a Georgia Tech spokesman tells Local Tech Wire.

“There are no facilities specifically dedicated to the center at this point,” he adds. “Both Dr. (Mark) Prausnitz and Dr. (Andreas) Bommarius have laboratory facilities that would be used for the center’s work.”

Prausnitz, a Georgia tech professor with expertise in delivering medicine through the skin, sees the center as a place to team scientists with engineers.

“One of our goals in this center is to pull together these activities in a synergistic way so the process of bringing a drug to market will be more integrated,” said Prausnitz, director of the center, in a statement. “By bringing together people from a variety of backgrounds in science and engineering, we can provide a broader perspective and understanding of the pharmaceutical development process.”

Georgia Tech has assembled considerable expertise in chemical engineering, drug development and delivery. It also has a close working relationship with Emory University in biology, biomedical engineering, genetics, bioinformatics and proteomics.

Among those involved, with background information provided by
Georgia Tech, are:

  • Andreas Bommarius, professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Bommarius focuses on improving biological catalysts to produce drugs such as anti-cancer agents and HIV protease inhibitors.

  • Donald Doyle, assistant professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Doyle is developing new drugs against diabetes and cancer using novel techniques to control gene expression by manipulating nuclear hormone receptors.

  • Joseph LeDoux, assistant professor in the Wallace Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering operated jointly by Georgia Tech and Emory University. LeDoux is designing new viruses that can be safely and efficiently used for gene therapy, especially for diseases of the lung, such as cystic fibrosis.
  • The center plans to “emphasize industrial collaboration to ensure that its activities have real-world implications and that its students learn skills that will equip them to make contributions to the pharmaceutical industry,” the University added in a statement.

    “We want to work with industry on the most important problems that are going to meet critical needs,” Prausnitz said. “To do that, we need to have strong interactions with industry to guide our research and education agendas.”

    Georgia Tech: www.georgiatech.edu

    Report: Nanotech center back on track

    Planning for a new nanotechnology center at Tech is back on course after a dispute over funding was settled, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

    In the July 30 edition, reporter Justin Rubner said real estate developer Mike Levy is moving ahead with his $36 million pledge to help build the center after pulling back in May. Levy was concerned that the University was making changes in concepts for the center without consulting him.

    “He assures me he is committed,” Georgia Tech President G. Wayne Clough told Rubner.

    Governor Sonny Perdue has said the state will kick in as much as $45
    million.