UUC set to benefit from Norbrook partnership

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AN internationally-renowned pharmaceuticals company is partnering with the University of Ulster to establish an endowed Chair in Pharmaceutical Science with a £1 million donation.

The donation will establish the Norbrook Laboratories Professorship within the new Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University’s Coleraine campus. It will directly contribute to the University’s Biomedical Sciences Research Institute, which is ranked in the top two in the UK in the most recent national Research Assessment Exercise.

The partnership with the Newry-based pharmaceuticals firm, founded by The Rt Hon. The Lord Ballyedmond, will focus on important commercial aspects of drug formulation, delivery, metabolism and detection and will enable a further strategic expansion of the University of Ulster’s Biomedical Sciences base.

Professor Tony Bjourson, Director of the Biomedical Sciences Research Institute, said: “We are very honoured to have received such a generous donation and that Norbrook Laboratories are supporting the University’s activities in Biomedical Sciences, and, in particular, pharmaceutical science research.

“Developing any drug for a particular disease is an important first step, but understanding how a drug is formulated, how stable it is, and the actual way to deliver that drug, is just as critical for the pharmaceutical industry and the end-user. This donation represents genuine recognition by Norbrook of the pharmaceutical science research strategy that we are pursuing in Coleraine.

Professor The Hon. James Haughey, Director, Norbrook and Visiting Professor at the University of Ulster, said that the partnership was an important step for pharmaceutical sciences not just in Northern Ireland but globally.

Professor Haughey said: “We have a large research department in Norbrook were we employ a substantial number of scientists, some internationally recognised for their novel research. I am pleased that Norbrook, a company with which I am associated, has agreed to finance the establishment of a chair in pharmacy.

“This area of science is most important for the development of new drugs to support industry within in Northern Ireland as well as internationally. Futhermore it will provide support to students qualifying in Pharmacy and the Chair will create a larger resevoir of knowledge for the Government, the Health Service and the public in general.

“I am most impressed with the quality and ability of the students and staff at the University of Ulster and I readily support our company’s decision to contribute to the creation of a Chair in Pharmacy.”

Professor Neville McClenaghan, Head of School of Biomedical Sciences, added: “Over the past years, Norbrook have been working closely with our team to drive forward a number of novel and exciting initiatives. This partnership will have a major impact for Northern Ireland not only through research achievements, but through future creation of additional high-value jobs, and flexible, knowledgeable and highly-skilled graduates, collectively directly enabling expansion of this important sector in our province.”