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USDA renews drug discovery grant for Natural Products Center

By Sydney Slotkin DuPriest

University of Mississippi

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has renewed a grant for the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy for the discovery and development of bioactive products that have potential to become pharmaceuticals, agrichemicals or alternative crops for small farmers.

The grant project, “Discovery and Development of Natural Products for Pharmaceutical and Agrichemical Applications,” has been renewed every five years since it began in 1996. A panel of outside experts convened by the USDA’s Office of Scientific Quality Review reviews the project, which awards $2.4 million per year for five years.

This grant also helps to foster commercialization of newly discovered products that may have wide-ranging benefits, such as pesticides, antibiotics and anticancer agents. The research funded by this project is complementary to the university’s research and has resulted in patents for both pharmaceuticals and agricultural chemicals.

“We continue to appreciate the USDA’s support and partnership with the NCNPR and the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy,” said David D. Allen, UM pharmacy dean. “This grant makes it possible for us to remain dedicated to the research of natural products to solve health and economic issues.”

The grant will be up for renewal again in 2021.