UB program secures $12.8 million to improve the quality of global HIV research

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded $12.8 million to the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences to lead a clinical pharmacology quality assurance program for NIH-funded laboratories and research networks across the globe conducting HIV and infectious disease research.

The seven-year grant is the third contract awarded to the UB program, which began in 2008. The contract has the potential to increase by $4.7 million through the exercise of options that increase the number of participating research sites and labs.

We are very proud of our successful re-competition for this contract and the recognition by NIH that our research program has the experience and expertise to contribute to the ongoing global effort to investigate new therapeutics for HIV prevention and treatment, as well as treatment of related infectious diseases."

Gene D. Morse, PharmD, principal investigator, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Pharmacy Practice and director of the UB Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences

The UB Clinical Pharmacology Quality Assurance (CPQA) program works with clinical research programs and labs in the United States, Africa and Asia, participating in HIV clinical trials supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to improve the quality of pharmacology data; ensure the validity and comparability of pharmacological study data; and to increase awareness of best practices for conducting clinical pharmacology protocols and collection, and processing and storing biospecimens at clinical research sites.

The program provides labs with materials for pharmacology proficiency testing and assay controls; implements standards of performance for new pharmacology assays; develops and tests antiretroviral and other drug assays; and acquires, tests, stores and dispenses quality control materials and reagents. The UB CPQA also includes a bioanalytical drug assay peer review program, a technical guidance program and a regulatory compliance laboratory assessment program.

Some of the research labs supported by the UB CPQA also investigate tuberculosis, viral hepatitis, COVID-19, medication adherence and biodistribution of drugs into tissues.

The award also renews a longstanding subcontract with Frontier Science and Technology Research Foundation, a Western New York company that supports the program's data management and analytics.

NIH's continued support of the program spotlights the important role that UB researchers play both locally and globally in fighting infectious diseases, said Venu Govindaraju, PhD, UB vice president for research and economic development.

"UB has strategically developed a supportive infrastructure for scholarship that has well-positioned the university to lead projects that address society's most challenging programs, such as the treatment and prevention of HIV and other infectious diseases," he said. "The UB Clinical Pharmacology Quality Assurance program exemplifies just how wide-ranging and impactful UB's research enterprise is."

Govindaraju also noted how the award will help UB situate itself among the Top 25 public research universities in the country.

Additional UB faculty working on the grant include Robin DiFrancesco, scientific manager and research associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice; Richard W. Browne, PhD, professor in the Department of Biotechnical and Clinical Laboratory Sciences at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; and Troy D. Wood, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences.

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