Southern Research Institute CEO Jack Secrist Recognized For Contributions In Cancer Drug Research

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Nov. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern Research Institute -- a not-for-profit organization that conducts basic and applied scientific and engineering research-today announced that its president and CEO, John A. "Jack" Secrist, III, Ph.D., has been named the recipient of the 2006 John A. Montgomery Award presented at the International Roundtable on Nucleosides, Nucleotides and Nucleic Acids Conference in Bern, Switzerland.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20060913/CLW089 )

The John A. Montgomery Award-supported by a grant from the Center for Drug Design at the University of Minnesota -- was created to honor Dr. John A. Montgomery, a former Distinguished Scientist at Southern Research Institute and executive vice president of BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, and to recognize outstanding contributions made in cancer research. Montgomery was the co- inventor of five FDA-approved anti-cancer drugs, and made major contributions to the field of nucleoside research with the focus being to discover new drugs. His approach of understanding biological data, and focusing on the relationship between that data and the compound structures, set an example now routinely used in drug discovery and development research.

"Advancements in cancer research mount every day, but there is a continued need for focused research and discovery initiatives to identify and develop novel therapeutics," said Robert Vince, Ph.D., director of the Center for Drug Design at the University of Minnesota. "The John A. Montgomery Award is an opportunity to celebrate the great strides we have made, and the individuals who dedicate themselves to discovering newer more effective treatments. Dr. Jack Secrist has made significant contributions to the field of research and I congratulate him on this well-deserved honor."

Southern Research has discovered six FDA-approved anti-cancer drugs. The most recent to earn approval, clofarabine, was co-invented by Dr. Secrist and Dr. Montgomery, and is now being marketed by Bioenvision in Europe and Asia, and by Genzyme in the U.S.

"My receiving this award is a tribute to the role Southern Research has played in efforts to discover more and better treatments for cancer," said Dr. Secrist, who in September was named president and CEO of Southern Research Institute. "It was a great experience to work here with Dr. Montgomery, and because of that, I am humbled by the recognition of the John A. Montgomery Award, and grateful to be a part this organization's success and ongoing efforts to discover and develop new cancer drugs."

Prior to being named CEO, Dr. Secrist served as vice president of Southern Research's Drug Discovery Division. His research has focused on the development of new anticancer, antiviral and antibacterial agents and has largely been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He currently serves on the editorial boards of several scientific journals, and recently completed terms as president of the International Society for Antiviral Research and the International Society for Nucleosides, Nucleotides & Nucleic Acids. Dr. Secrist has published more than 140 papers and holds more than 25 patents.

About the Center for Drug Design, University of Minnesota

The Center for Drug Design (CDD) is a distinctive, cutting edge research facility in the Academic Health Center of the University of Minnesota. The Center is dedicated to: providing a research environment for leading scientists, sharing unique strategies within the scientific community, developing novel drug therapies, vigorously pursuing an academic research agenda, transferring scientific knowledge, designing and developing new medicines to benefit people worldwide, supporting the interaction of many disciplines and areas of study, and creating a focal point for research. The ultimate mission of the Center for Drug Design is drug discovery, development and scientific research to advance health. For more information visit www.cdd.umn.edu.

About Southern Research Institute

Southern Research Institute is a not-for-profit organization that conducts basic and applied research in the areas of preclinical drug discovery and drug development, advanced engineering, environmental and energy production. To date, Southern Research has discovered six FDA-approved cancer drugs and discovered four additional drugs that are currently in clinical trials. Further, Southern Research has evaluated almost 70 percent of all other FDA- approved cancer drugs on the market. No other company or institution has brought six of its own cancer drug discoveries to market. Seventy-five percent of all FDA approved HIV drugs have also been evaluated at Southern Research during development. For more information visit www.southernresearch.org.

Media Contacts: Rhonda Jung (205-581-2317) Risa Burgess (781-684-0770) Southern Research Institute Schwartz Communications Jung@sri.orgSouthern@schwartz-pr.com

Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20060913/CLW089AP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.orgPRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.comSouthern Research

CONTACT: Rhonda Jung of Southern Research Institute, +1-205-581-2317, orJung@sri.org; or Risa Burgess of Schwartz Communications, +1-781-684-0770,or Southern@schwartz-pr.com

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