Designer of HIV Drug Abacavir to Give UM Hartman Lecture

Robert Vince plans to discuss drug design 'adventures' in April 2 speech

Robert Vince

Robert Vince

OXFORD, Miss. – Recognized for designing the HIV drug abacavir, medicinal chemist Robert Vince is to deliver the 2014 Charles W. Hartman Memorial Lecture at the University of Mississippi.

Sponsored by the School of Pharmacy, the lecture will be held at 11 a.m. April 2 in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Vince, professor and chair of the Center for Drug Design at the University of Minnesota, plans to discuss “Adventures in Drug Design.”

“We are so excited to have a distinguished scientist like Dr. Vince visit our campus and deliver our Hartman Lecture,” said David D. Allen, the pharmacy school’s dean. “His drug design research has made a worldwide impact, and I’m looking forward to hearing more about his work.”

Vince said his lecture will revolve around his many projects, including developing drugs for herpes, Alzheimer’s, HIV and skin cancer.

“I’ll tell the story of how I got involved with AIDS research and how we developed the drug,” Vince said. “I’ll talk about what it takes to bring a drug to market and then about some of our current research.”

Vince graduated with a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy in 1962 and a doctorate in medicinal chemistry in 1966, both from the University at Buffalo College of Pharmacy. In 1966, he served as an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry at Ole Miss, then joined the medicinal chemistry faculty at the University of Minnesota, where he eventually established and became director of the Center for Drug Design in 2002.

The recipient of numerous honors, Vince was given a career development award from the National Institutes of Health, was designated as the 1979 University of Minnesota Scholar of the Year and was recently inducted into the Minnesota Science and Technology Hall of Fame.

His design of carbocyclic nucleosides that led to the development of abacavir is just one of his many noteworthy accomplishments. GlaxoSmithKline markets the drug under the brand name ZiagenTM across the globe for the treatment of AIDS in adults and children. This has resulted in more than $600 million in royalties for the University of Minnesota.

Vince is looking forward to the lecture, especially because of his connection to the school, he said.

“I appreciate being selected to give this lecture because I considered Charlie Hartman a good friend,” he said. “He was a very well-liked and popular dean. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity.”

The Hartman Lecture was established at UM in 1973 to honor the late Charles W. Hartman, who was dean of the pharmacy school from 1961 until his death in 1970. Former lecturers include American Board of Medical Specialties President and Chief Executive Officer Lois Margaret Nora, former Mississippi Gov. William F. Winter, and U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Trent Lott.

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