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Pharmaceutical Engineering Strategic Cluster Hire


The overarching objective of this cluster hiring initiative is to establish a cutting-edge interdisciplinary pharmaceutical engineering research and education program that will meet the current and future needs of the pharmaceutical industry, the state of Alabama, and the nation. More effective drugs with fewer adverse effects are needed to treat human diseases. The use of medications and the associated costs continue to rise. Clearly, there is a need to have more efficient and cost effective ways to take drugs from the lab bench to the bedside. While there are many steps in this process, drug delivery/testing and manufacturing are key components that frequently do not receive sufficient attention. Questions such as what are the best formulations for maximum therapeutic effect and the optimal methods for manufacture must be addressed. Nationwide, there are only a few institutions and none in the Southeast that are using an integrated interdisciplinary approach to address these important issues in drug delivery and manufacturing. The sponsoring colleges/schools are committed to strategically promote/facilitate the interdisciplinary research/education needed to fill this critical gap.

The Pharmaceutical Engineering Cluster will augment drug development, testing, and manufacturing efforts as well as offer interdisciplinary science and engineering research and training unavailable elsewhere in Alabama or the Southeast. Furthermore, this cluster addresses a national need for research along with the production of trained scientists and engineers who can deliver 21st century solutions to problems on the critical path from discovery to commercialization of new medical products. This cluster will make Auburn University a key player in the field by strategically bringing together the resources and expertise of the sponsoring colleges/schools. The cluster will foster interdisciplinary research that will identify, develop, and test novel methods for drug delivery along with efficient methods/systems for the manufacture of medications. Auburn University is uniquely positioned to build on our existing strengths in these areas and develop a truly integrative approach to address these challenges. Our research activities will be organized in four primary thrust areas:

  1. Drug Discovery, Molecular Synthesis & Diagnostics

  2. Manufacturing of Active Therapeutics

  3. Formulation, Transport, Testing & Delivery Methods

  4. Product Design & Regulation

These topics comprise the entire process from identification of promising bioactive agents through efficacy and safety testing, manufacturing and delivery, to finally optimizing the impacts on dosing regimens and health outcomes research. It is of vital importance that we take a holistic approach to these problems as looking at each step individually may lead to suboptimal solutions. The cost of bringing a new drug to market has steadily increased to ~$500-800 million and as much as 75% of the total cost of each marketed drug is attributed to high failure rates of other candidates due to efficacy/safety problems. The high financial risk of drug development places great pressure on reducing cost and increasing productivity. Hence there is a tremendous opportunity space for strategic academic research. Insightful integration of discovery, development, and manufacturing coupled with increased interaction among industry, academia, and government should improve efficiency in the healthcare sector.

Positions Open:

Department of Chemistry and BioChemistry:
Department of Chemistry:

Sponsoring Colleges/Schools

Samuel Ginn College of Engineering (SGCOE)
Harrison School of Pharmacy (HSOP)
College of Science and Mathematics (COSAM)
College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM)

Contact Information

Dr. Mario R. Eden
Pharmaceutical Engineering Cluster Leader

Department Chair of Chemical Engineering
Phone: (334) 844-2064

Last Updated: October 17, 2016