The School of Pharmacy, in recognition of the importance and significance of drug research and development in Israel, and to prepare for scientific and infrastructural future challenges within the Biopharmaceutical Industry in Israel, recently founded the Institute for Drug Research. The Institute brings together some 30 researchers from a range of disciplines relevant to drug development:
• Medicinal Chemistry – The synthesis and isolation of new materials with biological activity; computerized design of new drugs and mechanisms of biological analysis of materials.
• Pharmaceutical Sciences - New Approaches for the development and targeting of drugs (drug delivery), pre-clinical and clinical pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic study, genetic therapy, development of innovative medicines and clinical pharmacology research.
• Pharmacology – The investigation of the structure and function of drugs, the aging processes, mechanisms of allergy and diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, neurodegenerative, brain damage, diabetes and addictions to drugs and alcohol, and developing new drugs for these pathologies.
Science has stepped into a new era, filled with optimism and excitement. The deciphering of the human genome, enabling technologies emerging from proteomics and computational breakthroughs – all these have combined to bring hope that science will cure some of humankind's most ravaging diseases.
The Institute for Drug Research (IDR) was recently established by the School of Pharmacy to meet the complexity and challenges facing drug research and development today. IDR, the only institute of its kind in Israel, includes scientists and research groups from various fields of drug-related research, whom are working across the complete spectrum of the field, from basic computerized drug design, through synthesis of novel molecules and their biological and therapeutic investigation to the development of sophisticated targeted delivery systems.
The IDR encourages formation of multi-disciplinary research groups to advance scientific excellence and will convene special multi-disciplinary teams to solve complex problems.
The IDR is designed to operate on the interface between basic and applied research. Thus the IDR will partner with the pharmaceutical industry in new initiatives, contributing its unique and invaluable experience and knowledge.
The IDR infrastructure and human resources will serve what we believe to be a national task – training the new generation of leading scientists in the field of drug research.
IDR's researchers are internationally-renowned for their expertise and achievement in the field of drug research. As teams and individuals, they have discovered new drugs and invented novel drug-delivery platforms for the treatment of a variety of clinical disorders. These pathologies include allergies, cancer, age related and neurological diseases, brain trauma, diabetes and drug addiction. In past years, 13 start-up companies have been established based on research of the Institute's scientists. Furthermore, collectively, the IDR's scientists have registered more than 200 patents, summing up to more than 25% of all Hebrew University's approved patent applications.
Today, four novel drugs, developed by the Institute's researchers and commercialized by Yissum, the research and development company of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, have reached the market. The most well-known is EXELON; a drug which delays the onset of the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.