FLORENCE, S.C. – IRIX Pharmaceuticals Inc. recently presented a check for $5,000 to the Francis Marion University Department of Chemistry and Physics to establish the IRIX Undergraduate Research Fund in Chemistry.
“The gift is going to allow students to participate in independent research projects,” said Dr. Barbara Hankinson, chairwoman of FMU’s Department of Chemistry and Physics. The money will be used by students for supplies and equipment, as well as for travel to conferences, Hankinson said.
“The research fund shows the continued commitment of IRIX to support the undergraduate program in chemistry and demonstrates our appreciation for FMU’s support in our infancy,” said Dr. Panos Kalaritis, vice president and chief operating officer of IRIX.
Francis Marion and IRIX have a long-standing relationship. The privately held Florence company was founded in 1996 and for a time leased laboratory space from the university.
IRIX has employed 12 FMU students full-time and two faculty members for summer assignments. The company also has an informal cooperative program with the university, in which qualified junior and senior students have the opportunity to expand their education in an industrial research-based setting during the academic year or the summer.
There is also discussion about expanding the relationship between IRIX and Francis Marion.
“A strong chemistry program at FMU supports our needs for scientific talent,” Kalaritis said. “Our efforts to enhance the program benefit IRIX in the long run.”
IRIX offers process research and development services to the pharmaceutical industry for new pharmaceutical candidates and existing drug products. The company currently has 50 employees and plans to add 30 scientific positions within the next 12 to 15 months.
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