The Howard University School of Pharmacy has unveiled its new Center for Drug Research and Development, a renovated area in the school’s basement level where faculty, students and outside companies can develop new drugs and drug products.

“This is a significant occasion,” said Beatrice Adderley-Kelly, Ph.D., dean of the College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Allied Health Sciences. “This allows our faculty to be on the cutting edge of research and allows the school to partner with industry to develop new drugs.

The initial idea for the facility began in 2004, and actual renovations started in 2007, the dean said.

“It’s been a long time coming,” she said, “but it’s here now.”

Emmanuel O. Akala, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Pharmacy, will serve as the program director for the new facility, which was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Research Resources.

“The center will strengthen the capacity of the University to conduct drug research and will allow it to establish methods and programs that will accelerate the discovery and development of new drugs,” Akala said.

Along with offering training for Howard’s own student’s and postdoctoral fellows, it will also help develop collaborative postgraduate training programs between Howard and the pharmaceutical industry as well as the Food and Drug Administration and the United States Pharmacopeia, Akala said

The center allows for several aspects of drug development in a spacious, 4,900 square-foot state-of-the-art facility.

Included in the center’s numerous work spaces are a Formulation Laboratory, where active and inactive pharmaceutical ingredients are handled; an Aseptic Laboratory for developing drugs for intravenous use, and a Manufacturing Laboratory, where capsules and tablets are produced.

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