sealPurdue News

October 24, 2001

$5 million gift to Purdue Pharmacy to fund drugs-for-trial center

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue will become one of just five universities in the country to blend pharmaceutical education and drug manufacturing thanks to a $5 million gift from two alumni that will help build an industrial pharmacy center in the Purdue Research Park.

Allen & Lee Hwa-Chao

The gift announced today (Wednesday, 10/24) – from Californian alumni Allen Chao, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., and his wife, Lee Hwa-Chao – will fund the centerpiece of a molecules-to-market program in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmacal Sciences' Department of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy.

The gift will support education, research programs and the construction of a manufacturing facility based on U.S. Food and Drug Administration current good manufacturing practices standards. With this approval, Purdue will become one of only a handful of universities that will be allowed to make drug products for human consumption.

The Chao gift will help fund a $7 million facility, which will include 24,000 gross square feet for the center's two laboratory modules, said Thomas R. Schmenk, university architect. The additional $2 million will be borrowed from the Purdue Research Foundation, to be repaid with income from the center. The completed facility also will contain unfinished space for expansion.

"The gift from Allen and Lee Chao – along with their vision – will add new dimensions to the School of Pharmacy's already considerable stature in pharmaceutical education and industry," said Purdue President Martin C. Jischke. "The center provides the university with highly specialized facilities to manufacture drug products for clinical trials that will enable our faculty to help develop, manufacture and speed to market new life-enhancing drugs.

"This center also will allow us to prepare our students for the highly competitive regulatory and technological environments they will encounter as they pursue careers in drug research and manufacturing. Both the university and the state will benefit economically, and all of us, worldwide, will benefit from the knowledge and products discovered here."

In a point-to-point videoconference transmission from Watson Pharmaceuticals' headquarters in Corona, Calif., Allen Chao and Charles O. Rutledge, dean of the pharmacy school, addressed the university community. The announcement was part of ongoing Discover Purdue celebrations, a yearlong campaign to highlight the university's accomplishments and aspirations.

Currently, groundbreaking is planned for late spring at the Purdue Research Park, located northwest of campus.

Chao said the center's research education and compliance programs, as well as the manufacturing facility, are designed to educate tomorrow’s leaders in industrial pharmacy.

"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," Chao said.

Rutledge agreed.

"The center will put our students in greater demand than ever," Rutledge said. "Dr. Chao's gift will have great significance in what it will do for our programs in industrial pharmacy."

The overarching goal, Rutledge said, is to develop faculty, staff, facilities and new programs to educate graduate and undergraduate students in all aspects of a molecules-to-market approach – from drug development to manufacturing to regulatory affairs. Ultimately, this process helps bring new drugs to market faster, he said.

Stephen R. Byrn, head of the Department of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy, said the molecules-to-market program was built around three components:

• The manufacturing facility in the center for industrial pharmacy;

• A center for pharmaceutical development aimed at stimulating pharmaceutical companies' growth in Indiana; and

• The addition of two endowed professorships and 10 fellowships to support students in the industrial pharmacy department.

The income over expenses from drug product manufacturing, which could yield as much as $1 million per year, will help fund the other two programs, Byrn said. Funds generated by the facility, along with other grants and contracts, will be used to develop sensor-based methods of drug analysis.

"These state-of-the-art methods will improve our educational programs and provide a means to enhance the quality of drug products," he said.

A similar manufacturing facility operated by the University of Iowa has been highly profitable for many years. Expenditures for pharmaceutical industry research are predicted to increase from $22 billion in 2000 to $37 billion in 2004, he said.

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.

Writer: Grant Flora, (765) 494-2073;

Sources: Martin C. Jischke, (765) 494-9708

Charles O. Rutledge, (765) 494-1368;

Stephen R. Byrn, (765) 494-1460;

Thomas R. Schmenk, (765) 494-8003;

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: A publication-quality photograph of Allen Chao and Lee Hwa-Chao is available at Also, a Discover Purdue logo is available at

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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