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December 5, 2003

Purdue advances on Chao pharmacy manufacturing center

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University recorded a new chapter in drug manufacturing today (Friday, 12/5) by burying a time capsule at the new Allen Chao Center for Industrial Pharmacy, which is under construction in the Purdue Research Park.

plaque presentation
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The $5.3 million center is expected to attract high-tech jobs to the state, both for the Purdue facility and for new companies in the research park that will take advantage of the center's manufacturing capabilities. Indiana firms also could take advantage of the graduates of Purdue's program in industrial and physical pharmacy, who will benefit from the improved educational opportunities the center will provide.

"The Chao Center will help Indiana pharmacy workers to become the best-informed in the country about the regulations that govern the manufacture of pharmaceuticals," said Purdue President Martin C. Jischke. "Their presence will, in turn, attract top-quality drug manufacturing firms to the area."

future home of Allen Chao Center
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The center, which will be operated as a limited liability company established for this project, will employ a staff of 15 to 30.

An existing 12,000-square-foot building within the Purdue Research Park is being renovated to house the center, which will manufacture so-called "rare legacy drugs," pharmaceuticals that are in demand but on a far lesser scale than well-known, first-choice medications. Rare legacy drugs often are not manufactured profitably by large companies but can still generate significant revenue for smaller firms.

"These drugs, such as those used to treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, are still needed by thousands of patients both here and abroad," said Joseph B. Hornett, senior vice president and treasurer for the Purdue Research Foundation. "A substantial amount of revenue is available to entrepreneurs who can manufacture such drugs economically, and this center will provide them with the tools and talent to do so."

The Purdue facility this summer partnered with Eli Lilly and Co. on its first legacy drug, an antibiotic that is effective for treating multiple drug-resistant tuberculosis. Purdue will produce the drug, which Lilly will then distribute, and together they will help developing countries manufacture it themselves.

Not only will the center assist with the development of legacy drugs, it also will be instrumental in developing the next generation of manufacturing professionals who will be needed to staff the pharmaceutical companies that wish to capitalize on the facility.

Allen and Lee Hwa-Chao

"If you are going to manufacture drugs to FDA standards, you are going to need people who have a good regulatory education," said John D. Pezzuto, dean of Purdue's School of Pharmacy, Nursing and Health Sciences. "The Chao Center will familiarize Indiana's future work force with FDA policy, which will translate into faster drug development time."

The center has been made possible by a $5 million gift made in 2001 by Californian alumni Allen Chao, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., and his wife, Lee Hwa-Chao. Chao said graduates with experience at the facility could expect to be in higher demand by the industry.

"It has long been my belief that leading companies in the pharmaceutical industry need highly skilled and trained pharmacists who can enter aggressive, competitive product development programs with a better understanding of the environments in which they will work," he said.

The new center will contain:

• a multi-use analytical and drug-development lab,

• five multi-use rooms,

• a drug packaging room,

• areas for handling materials and for cleaning equipment,

• an office area including two conference rooms,

• a warehouse facility, and

• a viewing corridor that will allow pharmacy students to see the manufacturing process in action.

This last element is a critical educational component of the facility, according to Stephen R. Byrn, who is head of Purdue's Department of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy.

"Our university classrooms will be provided with the same equipment found in the lab," Byrn said. "Students will be able to learn about the technology in class, then come here to see it in use in a working manufacturing facility. Funds generated by the facility, along with other grants and contracts, will be used to develop sensor-based methods of drug analysis. We are very grateful to the Chaos for having enabled Purdue to create the center."

Chao, who received an honorary doctor of science degree in 2000, earned his doctoral degree in industrial and physical pharmacy from Purdue in 1973. His wife, Lee Hwa-Chao, earned her bachelor's degree in pharmacy from Purdue that same year. Chao founded Watson Pharmaceuticals in 1983. The company develops, manufactures and markets branded and off-patent niche or generic pharmaceutical products. The couple lives in Anaheim, Calif.

The Purdue School of Pharmacy and Pharmacal Sciences was established in 1884. It currently enrolls 831 undergraduate, professional and graduate students in programs in three departments: pharmacy practice, industrial and physical pharmacy, and medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology. Since its founding, faculty have trained more than 7,000 pharmacists and 1,000 pharmaceutical scientists and educators. Twenty-five percent of all deans of pharmacy schools in the United States are either Purdue alumni or former faculty members.

Purdue Research Park, which opened in 1961, is home to more than 90 companies that employ 2,500 people. Many of these companies are developing Purdue-licensed technologies. The park provides an interactive environment for private business/industry, mainly in the high-tech arena, and experienced Purdue University researchers. The park sits on more than 650 acres located less than two miles from Purdue's main campus.

Writer: Chad Boutin, (765) 494-2081,

Sources: Martin Jischke, (765) 494-9708

Joseph Hornett, (765) 494-8645,

John Pezzuto, (765) 494-1368,

Stephen Byrn, (765) 494-1460,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;


Purdue University President Martin C. Jischke presents Allen Chao and Lee-Hwa Chao with a plaque commemorating the Allen Chao Center for Industrial Pharmacy, now under construction at the Purdue Research Park. The center, which will provide facilities for both education and pharmaceuticals manufacturing, has been made possible by a gift of $5 million from the Chaos. (Purdue News Service photo/David Umberger)

A publication-quality photograph is available at

Shown is the future home of Purdue University's Allen Chao Center for Industrial Pharmacy, located at the Purdue Research Park. The $5.3 million center will house facilities both to teach pharmacy students and to manufacture drugs for market. (File photo/Purdue Department of Industrial Pharmacy)

A publication-quality photograph is available at

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