FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University is offering a new course this semester that will not only prove to be valuable for the students, but is also a perfect example of academia and industry working together. The course, “Industrial Pharmaceutical Chemistry,” is being taught by scientists from IRIX Pharmaceuticals Inc.
“Students will gain practical, real-world experience and be much better prepared for employment in an industrial setting,” said Dr. Fred Clayton, chairman of the Chemistry Department at FMU.
The course continues the strong ties that have existed between IRIX and FMU since IRIX was formed in 1997. “FMU served as our incubator, as they were kind enough to let us work in their labs when we had none of our own – it worked out very well for us,” said Dr. Panos Kalaritis, one of the founders of IRIX. “FMU demonstrated with their vision that an academic institution can play a valuable role in the local economy beyond education. The synergy can be very powerful and the outcome nothing short of a win-win situation.”
IRIX has employed more than 20 Francis Marion students, as well as two faculty members for summer assignments. The organization also established the “IRIX Undergraduate Research Fund in Chemistry” at FMU with an initial donation of $5,000 in 1999, adding $5,000 annually. This fund provides a valuable opportunity for chemistry faculty and students to pursue novel research.
Approximately 15 students are enrolled in the one-evening per week course being offered through FMU’s Chemistry Department, which is one of only five chemistry departments in South Carolina to be accredited by the American Chemical Society. The course is broken into five “modules,” with each module being taught by a different instructor.
Kalaritis will instruct the first module, involving an overview of pharmaceutical discovery and development. Kalaritis is the co-founder and chief operating officer for IRIX. He holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.S. degree in medicinal chemistry from the University of Kansas. He is the holder of 11 patents, among which is the process patent for Xeloda, the most recent anti-cancer drug introduced to market by Hoffmann-La Roche. He has generated numerous scientific publications and industrial reports.
Pam Padgett will instruct the module involving the regulatory environment and good manufacturing practices. Padgett holds a B.S. degree in biology from Shippensburg University and is pursuing an M.B.A. She has extensive industrial experience in quality assurance and quality control.
Dr. George Yiannikouros will instruct the module on pharmaceutical process research. Chief scientific officer at IRIX, Yiannikouros earned a B.S. degree in chemistry, mathematics, and physics at the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki in Greece, an M.S. degree in chemistry from the City College of New York and a Ph.D. in chemistry at the City University in New York. He gained extensive post-doctoral experience serving with Professor K.C. Nicolaou at the University of Pennsylvania. Yiannikouros is the holder of numerous patents and publications in chemistry.
Pharmaceutical process development will be the subject of the module taught by Dr. Ronald Camp. Camp holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Michigan. He has extensive industrial experience, most recently with Albemarle Corp./Ethyl Corp. in Baton Rouge, La.
The last module, analytical research and development, will be instructed by Dr. Bruce Pierson, who holds a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Arizona and a B.S. degree in chemistry from Emporia State University in Kansas. Pierson serves as director of analytical chemistry with IRIX. Prior to coming to IRIX in August 2001, he was a senior research analytical chemist with Abbott Laboratories in Chicago.
The course is a one-semester course and offers one credit hour.
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