We have some of the best basic research in the nation–in the world– at this great university today. It’s one of the nation’s premier public research universities. Translational research–it’s exceedingly important.
Translational research as a way of taking research innovations in developing them into medical therapies that can be used in patients.
The Drug Dynamics Institute has been key to the College of Pharmacy for many, many years and it’s the same idea of taking the research of faculty members and focusing it on the development of new drugs.
The Drug Dynamics Institute is a collaborative center bringing together extensive scientific expertise and experience across industry, academic, and government partners.
We develop and assist in the development of new therapies that can eventually go on into the clinic and help meet patients needs.
DDI consists of three components that address pediatric and adult medical needs: TherapeUTex, UTech Dorm Room, and UT Advance.
TherapeUTex is a core lab located at the Del Pediatric Research Institute. It was formed by faculty from the College of Pharmacy with help from TI3D which the Texas Institute for Diagnostic and Drug Development.
So these are all pre-clinical studies that assist in bringing a drug product through the pipeline and eventually into a regulated study.
TherapeUTex offers a full range of activities including proof of concept studies, which are the first studies that you need to conduct in order to determine if a research innovation can go further into development for commercial application.
The researcher would work with the TherapeUTex core, and in that lab–that lab setup has R&D equipment and it has state of the art types of analytical equipment all for characterization of delivery systems.
They have facilitated a lot for us; and, are constantly very helpful and contribute to our products success.
You have to get the data and TherapeUTex provides modality for testing biological systems–the molecules that we make.
Another initiative launched by the Drug Dynamics Institute is UTech Dorm Room. And we did this in partnership with the Austin technology incubator in the city of Austin. So there’s a shortage of lab space in Austin and bio-science companies are struggling to find places to conduct their early stage prototype development and to get their work off the ground. And so we developed the UTech Dorm Room to help accommodate the growing need for lab space.
One of the challenges I should say with biotechnology companies is–not only do they they need mentoring and office space and a good network of advisers to support the company through the development; they also need the ability to create prototypes. They need the laboratory space in order to create prototypes of products that they hope to launch bring to the market space.
The goal being to eventually become fully a functional small company in Austin. Having a small company on campus provides a unique opportunity for students to be involved and see what it’s like to work for a start-up and perhaps gain some experience before they enter the real world.
What I like about being here on the campus of The University of Texas is that I can still work with the students that I used to work with while trying to develop novel therapeutics.
Up until now there’s been a missing link from taking from research environment into human clinical trial and what UT Advance does is fills that void. It does the final safety studies that are required by the FDA before you are allowed to apply to go in to test a new medical therapy in humans.
UT Advance offers services that would assist either a researcher or a small company to getting this FDA compliance studies in place before they start their phase 1 clinical trial.
UT Advance is the result of the support of UT Austin administration and also two other GOP compliant facilities found within the UT System. MD Anderson located in Bastrop and UTMB in Galveston.
Being a research institution is only part of the story. Being able to take a research concept and turning it into a medical product group therapy is really the ultimate goal.
So if you are going to develop new drugs– it is a long, hard, multifaceted adventure. It’s not for the faint of heart, cause it takes a lot of time and a lot of money. You need an active and large community such as provided by the University of Texas at Austin and the broader environment in Texas and throughout the country in the world to make progress.
What’s been missing is is this kind laboratory. That’s critical for the ultimate development of drugs that go on to the market place. So it is a missing element that we now have.