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Editorial: UNM partnership finds Rx for medical R&D

When it comes to ferreting out potential new weapons to fight deadly diseases and debilitating disorders, the University of New Mexico is emerging as a real player in the medical marketplace.

UNM’s Center for Molecular Discovery has been creating a cache of pharmaceuticals with the potential to be commercialized – and save lives. Researchers at the UNM center have been analyzing existing drugs with expired patents and developing compounds that might transition from lab to doctor’s office.

Dr. Richard Larson, executive vice chancellor of UNM’s Health Sciences Center, says research on existing compounds has come up with some that can be repurposed to fight “many diseases, including leukemia, solid tumors such as ovarian and breast cancer, infectious diseases and disorders in the neurological system, such as stroke.”

The center has teamed up with Nevada-based Sunbelt Technologies Management LLC, which has signed an option to license up to 21 potential pharmaceuticals developed by the center. Local startup Accelera Diagnostics Inc. will shepherd the most promising drugs to market.

“We see UNM like a diamond in the rough with so many undiscovered gems that people don’t know about because investors usually go to places like Stanford, Harvard or Caltech to find these types of medical advances,” says Sunbelt founder and managing member Andy Pham.

It’s a public-private partnership with the potential to put UNM on the medical R&D map.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.