Welch Foundation awards $3.5 million to fund new institute for drug development

Oct. 5, 2005

AUSTIN, Texas—The Welch Foundation has awarded $3.5 million to the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin to fund the Texas Institute for Drug and Diagnostic Development (TI-3D).

TI-3D is a new multi-institution, cross-college institute that aims to catalyze the development of innovative drugs and medical diagnostic tools. Vast amounts of potential drugs and diagnostic tools that come out of academic labs languish, because they never make the jump into the development stream.

The goal of the institute is to connect basic scientists making discoveries important to disease and diagnosis with specialists in drug development, medical diagnostic engineers and commercial ventures.

“We expect TI-3D to become a national model for close cooperation among research universities, medical schools and commercial entities in the development of important new tools to fight and diagnose disease,” says College of Natural Sciences Dean Mary Ann Rankin.

“We are extremely grateful for the Welch Foundation’s gift,” Rankin says. “Their investment confirms that this institute is visionary. Their gift will help the people of Texas and the world by giving our researchers more opportunity for discovery.”

TI-3D will bring together researchers in the College of Natural Sciences with scientists in the colleges of Engineering and Pharmacy and clinicians at Texas medical schools. The institute will provide a training ground for the next generation of drug development scientists.

By connecting novel research with commercial ventures, TI-3D is also poised to foster the growth of emerging pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries in Texas.

The Welch Foundation, based in Houston, is one of the United States’ oldest and largest private funding sources for basic chemical research. Since its founding in 1954, the organization has contributed to the advancement of chemistry through research grants, departmental programs, endowed chairs, visiting lectureships and other special projects at educational institutions in Texas.

For more information contact: Lee Clippard, College of Natural Sciences, 512-232-0675.