Alabama Drug Discovery Alliance Receives $2 Million Gift

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – February 23, 2015 – Tokyo, Japan-based Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, Limited, and Birmingham-based Protective Life Corporation announced today a $2 million gift to the Alabama Drug Discovery Alliance (ADDA) – a collaboration between Southern Research and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) – that funds, tests, and develops new drugs to combat diseases.

“This generous gift from Dai-ichi and Protective Life will strengthen a longtime, productive partnership between our university and Southern Research,” said UAB President Ray L. Watts. “We have about 18 new disease-changing therapies with tremendous commercial potential in the ADDA pipeline, and we are pushing hard to bring them to market as rapidly as possible. This gift will help us accelerate that process for these new treatments that promise such an incredible impact on patient care and our economy.”

Among the treatments in the ADDA discovery pipeline are therapies for diabetes, kidney disease, myeloma dysplastic syndrome, multiple myeloma, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, many types of cancers and more. The pledged funds from Dai-ichi and Protective Life will be used to assist efforts across all stages of the ADDA’s drug discovery process, from testing to clinical trials.

“We are thrilled to be part of the generosity that Dai-ichi and Protective Life announced today, which will allow us to accelerate the search for new drugs,” said Southern Research President and CEO Art Tipton, Ph.D. “At Southern Research, we have developed seven anti-cancer drugs that are currently on the market, and using the deep science and development tools that we used at Southern Research to develop those drugs, we have been working with UAB to jointly develop life-changing drugs in a range of disease indications. The Dai-ichi mission of ‘By your side, for life’ exemplifies what we and UAB are pursuing in our quest for new cures.”

The ADDA network aligns scientists with necessary chemists, pharmacologists, clinicians, and intellectual property professionals to develop new disease treatments. The ADDA facilitates drug discovery and development in utilizing the resources that exist at both Southern Research and UAB, funding pilot projects at different stages of the drug discovery and development process.

From discovery to clinical trials, Southern Research contributes to the search for new and better drugs and vaccines through a comprehensive continuum of capabilities including medicinal chemistry, preclinical drug development, and clinical trial support. One of Southern Research’s key assets is its state of the art High Throughput Screening Center, which allows researchers to quickly conduct millions of chemical, genetic, or pharmacological tests. UAB’s School of Medicine, the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences, and the Comprehensive Cancer Center are all crucial collaborators with Southern Research as part of the ADDA.

The ADDA, the University of Alabama, and the Birmingham Botanical Gardens each received substantial gifts from Dai-ichi and Protective Life, whose formal merger was effective Feb. 1. The three groups are the recipients of the company’s initial $4.1 million of a total $23 million, five-year commitment in community gifts.

“We worked diligently and in tandem with Protective leadership to identify recipients that align with our company’s mission of ‘By your side, for life,’” said Koichiro Watanabe, Dai-ichi president and representative director, and Shinichi Aizawa, managing executive officer. “Each recipient in some way reinforces our company values, our culture, and our commitment to improving the lives of the people and communities we serve.”

“Through Dai-ichi’s tremendous generosity, Protective is able to enhance its level of corporate giving and provide extended assets to these and other entities over the next five years,” said John D. Johns, Protective chairman, president and CEO. “These pledgees reinforce the Protective Life Foundation’s commitment to the community and to the spirit of volunteerism, which will remain at the core of our daily operations.”

“We are incredibly grateful to Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company and Protective Life Insurance for investing in UAB, our city and our state,” said Shirley Salloway Kahn, UAB senior vice president of Development, Alumni and External Relations. “Both companies’ visionary philanthropy will help UAB through our collaboration with Southern Research and the ADDA to continue to pursue groundbreaking research to ultimately create new treatments and potential cures for cancer and other devastating diseases. This gift will play a vital role in enhancing UAB and Southern Research’s reputation as leaders in research and development and help boost economic development in our city and state.”

About Southern Research
Founded in 1941 in Birmingham, Alabama, Southern Research is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) scientific and engineering research organization that conducts preclinical drug discovery and development, advanced engineering research in materials, systems development, and energy and environment research. Approximately 500 team members support clients and partners in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, defense, aerospace, environmental, and energy industries in facilities in Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas.