Memphis, Tenn. (March 23, 2010) - The Plough Foundation has awarded a grant of $4.5 million to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Pharmacy. The grant will be used to establish the Plough Center for Sterile Drug Delivery Systems, a more than 5,800-square-foot facility on the sixth floor of the new UT College of Pharmacy Building. The building is under construction on the UT-Baptist Research Park, which is adjacent to the UTHSC main campus.
The Plough Center will serve as an educational hub for teaching and training pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, and highly skilled employees for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. The Plough Center will also provide an environment for the development of unique drug products to solve specialized problems. Funds from the Plough Foundation grant will cover all project costs for the center including design, construction and equipment, plus data and telecommunications.
"We view support for this new center as a clear extension of the goals outlined by Mr. Abe Plough," said Scott McCormick, Executive Director of the Plough Foundation. "He was committed to the idea that the greatest good is done when you help the greatest number of people. For generations, the Plough Center for Sterile Drug Delivery Systems will have a significant measurable impact on education, research, health care for our citizens, and service to the community." McCormick added, "It will also serve as a catalyst for entrepreneurial endeavors in the local pharmaceutical industry. That comes full circle to Mr. Plough."
Abe Plough was a Memphis-area entrepreneur who started his company in 1908, merging with the Schering Corporation in 1971 to form Schering-Plough. The Plough Foundation is a private organization that funds a diverse group of non-profit entities that work to address the many pressing social and economic issues facing Memphis and Shelby County.
"We appreciate this extremely generous grant and the synergistic partnership that it symbolizes," said Dick Gourley, dean of the UT College of Pharmacy. "This funding will allow both of our organizations to compound the impact of our accomplishments for the benefit of our students, industry professionals and regulators, and the greater Memphis community."
"We believe a natural congruency exists between the mission of our organization and the mission of the Plough Foundation," said Steve Schwab, MD, interim chancellor for UTHSC. "Both of our institutions are committed to improving the lives of the citizens of Shelby County and to constantly striving for positive impact on our community and region."
The new UT College of Pharmacy building is the second building under construction on the UT-Baptist Research Park, a project that will add more than 1.4 million square feet of laboratory, research, education and business space in the heart of the Memphis Medical Center. The more than $65 million Pharmacy building is scheduled to open in fall 2010 and will consolidate UT College of Pharmacy faculty and staff who are currently housed in six different buildings throughout the urban campus. The building will bring nearly everyone from the college together at the new site.
The Plough Center for Sterile Drug Delivery Systems will be designed to develop and manufacture "small molecule*" drug products to treat cancers, cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases and other life-threatening conditions. The center will enable scientists to increase the number of clinical trials performed locally, which will be a major positive step toward improved health care in the region.
Founded in 1898, the UT College of Pharmacy is the first pharmacy school established in the state of Tennessee and is ranked 16th out of 115 pharmacy colleges in the nation (April 2009 U.S. News & World Report). With more than 5,300 graduates, the UT College of Pharmacy has major campus locations in Memphis and Knoxville, and Clinical Education Centers in Kingsport and Nashville. Additionally, the college has more than 60 sites across the state for students to gain experience through community practice and residency, clinical rotation, and institutional practice and residency. The economic impact of the UT College of Pharmacy is estimated at $56 million through licensing technologies and discoveries that fuel the biotech industry in the Mid-South region.
* The term "small molecule" refers to a low molecular weight organic compound, which is by definition not a polymer (a large molecule or macromolecule composed of repeating structural units typically connected by covalent chemical bonds).