Drug Discovery

Drug discovery doesn't begin in a lab; it begins with a patient. People suffering from cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, immune disorders, infectious diseases and trauma need help and hope. Researchers at the Purdue University Center for Drug Discovery are driven to find the connection between the molecular basis of disease and the compounds that might change the course of disease.


  • Accelerate the rate of drug discovery to move revelations from the lab to commercialization and then to the millions of patients who need hope and relief.
  • Create an innovative research and teaching environment to stimulate discovery and the translation of basic research into new ways to diagnose and treat disease.
  • Increase grant funding and industry investment.
  • Attract new researchers of international reputation and proven ability.
  • Foster research, clinical translation, education and commercialization in the development of lifesaving and life-enhancing drugs.


  • Purdue researchers currently have 16 new drugs in human trials, plus 25 more in the pipeline.
  • partnership with Houston Methodist Hospital will facilitate clinical collaborations between Purdue drug makers and hospital clinical faculty to speed translation of drugs in the pipeline into human clinical trials.
  • Purdue established Boilermaker Health Innovations, a nonprofit Purdue corporation focused on raising money for the sole purpose of translating Purdue’s drugs into human clinical trials. An advisory board helps determine which Purdue drugs have the greatest potential for having an impact in medicine. The board is nearly ready to select the first candidate drug for translation.
  • The Purdue University Center for Drug Discovery was established in fall 2014 as part of Purdue’s Discovery Park, with the mission of developing new diagnostic tools and treatments for people in need.
  • The success of the Center for Drug Discovery has created the need for more faculty, including the four new faculty researchers who were hired in fall 2015.
  • Purdue’s drug discovery researchers have made many promising discoveries since the Purdue Moves were announced. Here are a few examples of their exciting advancements:
    • In fall 2014 Philip Low, director of the Center for Drug Discovery, announced a breakthrough in his development of a technology that “lights up” cancer cells and thereby helps surgeons to remove them more effectively.
    • Purdue research points toward a class of compounds that could be effective in combating infections caused by Enterovirus D68. This virus has stricken children around the United States and beyond with serious respiratory infections, and might be associated with polio-like symptoms.
    • Kavita Shah, Walther Associate Professor of Bioorganic Chemistry and Chemical Biology, developed a chemical genetic approach to identify substrates in breast cancer for use as potential targets for the treatment of breast cancer.
    • In October 2015, Purdue became one of just two sites in the U.S. to house a new type of ultramodern PET imaging technology. The upgraded equipment will provide cutting-edge small animal imaging capabilities for drug discovery scientists.
    • A team of Purdue University researchers was awarded a $1 million W.M. Keck Foundation grant to develop a new type of imaging technology for cell and tissue analysis. The concept creates a new way to perform in-vivo spectroscopy, the process of using a pulsing laser light to determine the precise chemical content of tissues in living organisms.
    • In October 2015, the Office of Research and Partnerships and the Office of the Provost launched the Pillars of Excellence in Life Sciences Initiative aimed at enhancing Purdue’s life sciences research and graduate education. These selected pillars will coalesce faculty interdisciplinary expertise around the life sciences, thereby contributing to the plant sciences and drug discovery aspects of Purdue Moves.

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

© 2015 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Marketing and Media

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact Purdue Marketing and Media at online@purdue.edu.