George Painter, a veteran in the Triangle life sciences scene, has been appointed to lead new pharmaceutical R&D initiatives at Emory University.

Painter brings 30 years experience of pharma and biotechnology industry experience, particularly in antivirals, to his new position as CEO of Drug Innovation Ventures at Emory, or DRIVE. He will also be director of the Emory Institute for Drug Development (EIDD).

DRIVE is a new not-for-profit company wholly owned by Emory, but with the independence to run like a biotechnology company. It will combine the expertise of Emory scientists with development, business and management expertise from industry.

Painter was a member of the founding management teams of two Triangle companies: Triangle Pharmaceuticals, where he served as executive vice president of R&D; and Chimerix (NASDAQ:CMRX), where he served as president and CEO. Triangle Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Gilead Sciences in 2002 for $550 million. Chimerix filed for an initial public stock offering earlier this year as is pursuing phase III clinical development of its antiviral compound CMX001.

Painter has also worked as director of chemistry and director of virology at Burroughs Wellcome Co. After its merger with Glaxo in 1995, he became worldwide director of research process and deputy therapeutic head for antiviral research at GlaxoWellcome.

“Although many academic drug discovery centers have been established over the past decade,DRIVE is uniquely designed to move early discoveries into the development phase and to provide the special expertise required to do this in a timely and cost efficient manner,” Painter said in a statement.

In other life sciences news in the region …

  • Wake Forest Innovation, Novarus Healthcare partners on mobile apps development

Wake Forest Innovations, the commercialization arm of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, is working with a Charlotte apps developer to develop new mobile apps and tools.

The collaboration agreement with Novarus Healthcare covers joint development and commercialization of products that can be used in medical centers, including Wake Forest Baptist. No financial terms of the collaboration were disclosed.

The partners say that some of the new apps and tools will help physicians and nurses improve patient care while reducing costs. Other tools allow patients to understand better the essentials of their care, such as their medication regimens.

“Medical practitioners want to connect with their patients in their homes, particularly before a patient enters the hospital,” Eric Tomlinson, chief innovation officer of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and president of Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, said in a statement. “These easy-to-use tools will provide them with an effective way to do that.”

The partnership also calls for Wake Forest Innovations and Novarus to collaborate and commercialize certain intellectual property of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Wake Forest University.

  • Cornerstone sues for patent infringement

Cornerstone Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CRTX) is suing Exela Pharma Sciences for infringing a patent of its heart attack drug.

Cary-based Cornerstone says in its suit that Exela is infringing on Cornerstone’s patent by filing for Food and Drug Administration Approval to market a ready to use injectable formulation of 0.1 mg/ml and 0.2 mg/ml nicardipine hydrochloride in 0.9% sodium chloride. Cornerstone’s Cardene I.V. is already on the market as a ready-to-use injectable formulation of 0.1 mg/ml and 0.2 mg/ml nicardipine hydrochloride in 0.86% and 0.83% sodium chloride. Cornerstone said that two patents covering this drug do not expire until 2027.

“The initiation of this lawsuit is consistent with Cornerstone’s stated intention of vigorously enforcing its intellectual property rights to protect its innovative products and technologies,” Cornerstone Chairman and CEO Craig Collard said in a statement.