UW pharmacy dean says school poised to help business

The UW-Madison School of Pharmacy has experts at every level of drug development – from the lab bench to clinical testing to use in the real world.

And those experts are available to help companies large and small, the school’s dean told a state bioscience industry meeting of the trade group BioForward on Wednesday.

“We offer expertise and services that might be of great use to those who want to partner with us and our graduates are very well trained to help companies and help push forward their goals,” Jeanette Roberts said.

“We want that to happen more frequently with BioForward members,” she said. “We have a cadre of biologists, chemists, geneticists, pharmaceutics people, engineers and social science people who worry about communication, adherence and the drug development and use. We cover the spectrum.”

The school is also encouraging students to be entrepreneurs and launch their own businesses, added Roberts, who has been in her post for nearly a decade.

She announced last year that she will step down in September and pursue a public policy fellowship in Washington, D.C. and work for a member of Congress or a congressional committee dealing with health care reform.

“I’ve always wanted to get together with this organization,” she told members of the BioForward.

“But it’s never too late and I apologize that it’s taken me this long to come join you for a breakfast,” mused Roberts wryly. She also noted proudly – several times – that the most recent U.S. News rankings of pharmacy programs put UW–Madison’s fifth among more than 100, up a notch from the previous year.

In addition, she said the World Education Congress recently named the school – which was founded in 1883 – the Best Educational Institute in Pharmacy in the world.

Roberts said researchers and technicians at the school can help clients with “all sorts of analyses” and other efforts important to bioscience companies.

“We worry about every aspect of the drug discovery, development and use process,” she said.

“And this is outlined in how the four divisions of our school line up starting with basic scientists doing pre-clinical work, target identification and new molecular identification … to social scientists worrying about risk-to-benefit ratios and outcome measures once a drug is actually launched into the marketplace.”

She said the school’s extension arm deals not only with druggists, but provides a variety of continuing education and development programs for the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.

It also organizes the respected “Land of Lakes” research conferences, four of which will be offered in Madison in coming months. In addition, she said the school offers a variety of short courses for professionals.

“It’s a big operation and we take our outreach mission to the pharmacy and scientific community seriously,” she said. “They’ll even come to you and do independent learning and short courses. We also just finished a whole year of webinars, so we are trying to get into that marketplace, too.

“But the point is, they do a whole variety of things that could be of interest to you.”

— By Brian E. Clark
For WisBusiness.com