Emory – 4th Largest Contributor to New Drug Discovery in U.S.

First announced in the February 10th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, a new study has found that Emory is the fourth largest contributor to the discovery of new drugs and vaccines in the U.S. The contributors evaluated included federally funded universities, research hospitals, and federal laboratories.

The study found that public-sector research was involved in the discovery of as many as 20% of therapies approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 1990-2007. Through studying the FDA review process, the researchers also found that public sector research institutes “tend to discover drugs that are expected to have a disproportionately important clinical effect.”

To determine impact of various research organizations, researchers for the study identified 153 FDA-approved drugs and vaccines that were discovered at least in part by public-sector research institutions during the past 40 years. The top five contributors were:

  • The National Institute of Health (NIH) (22)
  • The University of California System (11)
  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering (8)
  • Emory University (7)
  • Yale University (6)

The seven Emory products included HIV/AIDS drugs lamivudine (3TC) and emtricitabine (FTC), discovered by Emory scientists Dennis Liotta, PhD, and Raymond Schinazi, PhD, and their former colleague Woo-Baeg Choi, PhD. These two drugs are among the most commonly used and most successful HIV/AIDS drugs in the world, taken in some form by more than 94 percent of U.S. patients on therapy and by thousands more globally.

Emory University President, James Wagner, is extremely proud of the accomplishments of Emory researchers and scientists, commenting, “this study illustrates once again that our nation’s long-standing and world-leading policy of investment in research through universities and other public institutions, along with the responsible use of technology transfer, delivers a tremendous return through improved health for millions, innovative technologies, economic development and training for the next generation of innovators.”

We thank our Emory scientists making new discoveries that allow Emory Healthcare to continue to advance the possibilities in patient-centered health care and improve health in our communities.

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