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February 25, 2013

ULM's El Sayed receives drug discovery innovation award from pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly

Dr. Khalid El Sayed, associate professor of pharmacy at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, was recently awarded the "Outstanding Contribution to Continuous Compound Submissions."

The award is sponsored by the Open Innovation Drug Discovery Team at Eli Lilly—the tenth largest pharmaceutical company in the world.

El Sayed is one of only five recipients of this award. There were 715 eligible members.

"I am extremely pleased with the honor Eli Lilly has given to me, and I truly enjoy working with OIDD," said El Sayed.

"Not only did collaboration with OIDD progress our research with numerous important preliminary data used for publications, grants and our graduate students for their dissertations, we actually learn from OIDD personnel and their drug discovery insights, directions, and envisions."

Miranda McBee, representative for the OIDD team said, "We believe [El Sayed's] scientific dedication should be globally recognized and become an inspiration for other participants."

According to the Eli Lilly website, Open Innovation provides a platform for idea-sharing and lowers the barrier for collaborations between investigators working inside and outside an organization.

This free exchange of ideas between investigators across traditionally impregnable organizational walls contributes to the advancement of Science.

Dr. Benny Blaylock, dean of the ULM College of Pharmacy said, "Once again, Dr. El Sayed is recognized for his outstanding and ongoing contributions to therapeutic drug discovery by Eli Lilly. His work not only has significant potential to develop into routinely used anti-cancer therapeutic agents, but also is an outstanding example of the level of internationally recognized research by the Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences faculty in the College of Pharmacy. The College of Pharmacy is very proud of Dr. El Sayed, his colleagues and their students for their excellence in research and pharmacy education."

Through the Open Innovation Drug Discovery interface, external investigators securely upload and submit structures of their compounds to be evaluated for novelty and reasonable drug-like characteristics.

Should a molecule be selected, investigators are invited to submit the physical sample to Lilly for testing. In exchange for the submission, the investigator receives a full report of all the biological data generated.

Once testing is completed, Lilly evaluates the data and determines whether to initiate discussions on the relevant next steps.

While at ULM, El Sayed has received $1,180,000 in research support from Louisiana Biomedical Research Network, Philip Morris, the American Society of Pharmacognosy, the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education, the National Cancer Institute, and several small companies.

He has also received $278,000 from the Louisiana Board of Regents for equipment funding.

In collaboration with his pharmacy colleagues, El Sayed has been awarded three U.S. patents for cancer research.

He has taught at ULM since 2001.

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