UT Opens Groundbreaking Drug and Biotech Lab

UT-Austin is closing the “critical gap” between research and treatment with an innovative new laboratory.

The University of Texas at Austin is forging a critical link in the chain of drug development and healthcare delivery. A new lab, called UT Advance, is helping researchers at UT-Austin take the vital steps between research and commercialization.

UT Advance opened on Monday at the Dell Pediatric Research Institute. The lab is part of the College of Pharmacy’s Drug Dynamics Institute, a far-reaching effort to bring together scientists, scholars, entrepreneurs, and government officials to enable more efficient implementation of medical discoveries.

Pharmaceutical developments can stall at the research phase and never make it through U.S. Food and Drug Administration trials. The University’s new lab is helping researchers continue their work and, ideally, get effective new treatments to market.

“Being a Tier One research powerhouse is only part of the story,” said Janet Walkow, BA ’77, PhD ’82, executive director and chief technology officer at the institute. “The ability to take research innovations and develop them in to new products is the real goal. The new UT Advance labs provide the missing link.”

Assistant director Alan Watts, PhD ’09, noted that researchers are working at the leading edge of research in particular biomedical and pharmaceutical fields.

“We possess specific expertise in the evaluation of inhaled drug products and hope to assist with the development of new therapies for asthma, cystic fibrosis, and COPD,” said Watts.

The growth in medical research and commercialization is a strong opportunity for multiple parts of the University to lead in a vital and fast-growing field.

“This lab will allow our faculty, not only in pharmacy but chemistry, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, and other departments to take their dreams, to take their ideas from the bench and help get those ideas into therapeutic products that mitigate disease,” said Lynn Crismon, dean of the College of Pharmacy.

State Sen. Kirk Watson, leading supporter of the proposed UT-Austin medical school, emphasized the University’s value to health care in Texas.

“This is a critical resource not only for our university researchers, but also for the larger community that will benefit from its discoveries. And it demonstrates the potential of this region to grow our economy by investing in these kinds of resources,” Watson said.

Watson, alongside UT-Austin President Bill Powers and community leaders from across central Texas, has championed Proposition 1, the Travis County bond initiative that would help enable the creation of a medical school at UT-Austin.

To learn more about the proposed school and teaching hospital, as well as Texas Exes’ support for the project, visit the UT M.D. campaign online.

Photo by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration


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