Distinguished Professor Earns Double Recognition in Drug Development

The process of bringing one new drug to market can take a decade and hundreds of millions of dollars. Hartmut Derendorf, a distinguished professor in the UF College of Pharmacy, is finding ways to tighten expenses and shorten timelines while balancing patient variability, drug safety and effectiveness against all possible risks. His work was recognized by two national pharmacy organizations this year.

In July he received the 2010 Volwiler Research Achievement Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy at its annual meeting in Seattle.

“Dr. Derendorf is an exceptional leader and teacher. He is not only known for his incredible contributions to pharmaceutical education, but for his leadership and mentorship to advance research that is vital to the academic community,” said Lucinda L. Maine, Ph.D., R.Ph., AACP executive vice president and CEO, when she presented the award.

In September. he was honored again when he received the American College of Clinical Pharmacology 2010 Distinguished Investigator Award. This prestigious annual award recognizes superior scientific expertise and accomplishments by a senior investigator, in a distinct area of research in basic or clinical pharmacology for which the individual is internationally known. He was recognized at the ACCP 39th Annual Meeting in Baltimore for his outstanding research on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of corticosteroids, analgesics, antibiotics and also drug interactions.

Derendorf, the CVS Pharmacy Endowed Professor and chairman of the college’s pharmaceutics department, has developed a series of laboratory analyses and mathematical models of drug concentrations to predict which drugs show the best promise for patients, and at which dose.

“This can mean two to three years of savings compared with the traditional trial-and-error approach and expense of clinical trials,” Derendorf said.

The basis of drug development is in PK/PD modeling. PK, short for Pharmacokinetics, examines what happens to the drug—how the body metabolizes it. PD, or pharmacodynamics, describes the effects, good or bad, the drug has on the body.

“The Handbook of Pharmacokinetic-Pharmacodynamic Modeling,” authored by Derendorf and his colleague Günther Hochhaus and published in 1995, was the first textbook overview of this process. Today, his PK/PD methodology integrates preclinical and clinical science to streamline drug development and optimize dosing strategies for new medicines.

Using microdialysis, a patented drug monitoring method, he can measure drug concentrations at the treatment site rather than in the bloodstream.

Derendorf received his doctorate in pharmacy, summa cum laude, from the University of Münster, Germany. His journey in academic research comes full circle from 1981, when he first joined UF as the postdoctoral fellow of Edward R. Garrett. Likewise, in 1980, his mentor received the AACP’s Volwiler award.

Derendorf believes that costs of new drug development are too high for any one country, and should be an international effort. In 1997, he established the Symposium on New Developments in Clinical Pharmacy and Clinical Pharmacology. The collaborative meeting of postdoctoral and graduate students, and international colleagues, is co-hosted by a European university biennially.

“It is rewarding to see so many of our former students being successful in their careers in academia, the pharmaceutical industry, and the regulatory agencies around the world,” Derendorf said. “They all are great ambassadors of the Gator spirit.”

This year, the Pharmaceutics dept is hosting two scientific meetings in Graz, Austria. The 2011 Global Gator meeting and the 8th Retrometabolism-based Drug Design & Targeting Conference are both planned for June 2-4, 2011. Visit the pharmaceutics research department on the college website www.cop.ufl.edu for details on presenting or attending either meeting.