UT Researcher Honored for Safer Testosterone Replacement Drug

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A University of Tennessee pharmaceutical chemist, who has developed a testosterone replacement drug, has won the 2005 Wheeley Award for his work in commercializing the results of his research.

A University of Tennessee pharmaceutical chemist, who has developed a testosterone replacement drug, has won the 2005 Wheeley Award for his work in commercializing the results of his research.

Dr. Duane Miller is being recognized for his development of Andarine, a drug that can be used to treat the effects of andropause, the lowering of male testosterone levels because of age. Andropause frequently results in osteoporosis and the loss of muscle mass in aging males.

Miller is the chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the UT Health Science Center in Memphis.

Andarine, which is classed as a nonsteroidal selective androgen receptor modulator, is being brought to market by GTx, a Memphis-based company, in connection with Johnson & Johnson. The drug is in Phase II clinical trials.

Miller has shown that the drug does not have the cancer-causing potential and other serious side effects that traditional treatments with testosterone and steroids have.

“Dr. Miller has been the most prolific researcher and inventor I have ever met,” said Robert Palmer, director of technology transfer for the UT Research Foundation’s Memphis office. “He demonstrates great zeal for transferring discoveries from his laboratory to the public through health-care professionals.”

Miller is also the Van Vleet Professor in pharmacy at the Health Science Center and is associate dean of research and graduate programs in the College of Pharmacy. He holds the doctorate from the University of Washington and has been at UT since 1992.

He is also responsible for two other significant drugs now in the development process: Rx100, an oral drug that protects the gastrointestinal tract from the damaging effects of chemotherapy or radiation exposure, and EDL155, a drug that shows promise for the treatment of glioblastoma, a usually fatal brain tumor.

Miller is the cofounder of RxBio Inc. and ED Laboratories Inc., two startup biotechnology firms that are developing the two drugs.

The $7,500 prize was established by B. Otto and Katherine Wheeley to recognize and encourage technology transfer. Wheeley, a UT graduate, was deputy chairman of the Koppers Co. and president of Kopvenco, its venture capital subsidiary. He founded Venture First Associations Inc. and has worked with the university to promote commercial development of university research. Since its establishment in 1989, eight faculty have received the award, which is the most prestigious research award given by UT.

Previous winners include Michael Zemel for his work on calcium and obesity; J. Reece Roth, for inventing the one-atmosphere, uniform glow discharge plasma; and Kim Kelly-Wintenberg, who cofounded a Atmospheric Glow Technologies to develop applications for the plasma developed by Roth.

Miller will receive the award at a noon luncheon on Oct. 5 at the University Club Ballroom. David Millhorn, the recently appointed vice president of research for the University of Tennessee system, will speak at the luncheon. Millhorn comes to UT from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, where he was director of the Genome Research Institute and chair of the department of genome science.

The University of Tennessee is a Research-Extensive Institution as classified by the Carnegie Foundation. In 2004, the university won some $273 million in research awards and other sponsored programs. The UT Research Foundation had 59 invention disclosures, 14 patents issued, and 19 licenses of intellectual property executed in the same period.

For more information, contact
Dr. Arlene Garrison, 865-974-6410
Bill Dockery, 865-974-2187