Research nets professor award for drug research

Anna Fata

A pharmacy professor earned a $10,000 award for his research that will help maximize the efficiency of pharmaceutical drugs.

The International Pharmaceutical Excipients Council of the Americas Foundation presented James McGinity with the Ralph Shangraw Memorial Award at a national pharmaceutical conference last week. The council selected McGinity out of 20 nominees.

McGinity said he has worked on this research for the 30 years he has been at UT. Although his work focuses mainly on material sciences, the council recognized him for his work on excipients, which are the parts of a drug other than the active ingredient. Some examples include the coloring, ink and capsules essential to the drugs. Every drug product contains excipients, said McGinity, who became interested in studying them more than 30 years ago when he was a graduate student in Australia.

McGinity’s research focused specifically on the different ways drugs enter the body, whether taken orally or absorbed through the skin.

“Excipients you would use in a trans-film that you would apply to skin would be completely different than what you would find in the dosage form,” McGinity said.

The FDA regulates the active ingredients of drugs, but there is no federal organization that regulates excipients. The council established guidelines for excipients because they are critical for the drug to work, said Kim Beals, executive director of the council.

Beals said excipients are responsible for making sure the drug dissolves in the correct place of the body, for example, the intestinal track instead of the stomach.

“[McGinity’s] credentials are incredible,” Beals said. “We are really trying to generate more research in excipients.”

M. Lynn Crismon, dean of the UT College of Pharmacy, said McGinity’s expertise helps pharmacy students to be equipped with knowledge of the latest technology in pharmaceutical research.

“He is one of the leading world experts in excipient research,” Crismon said. “He is highly sought for his abilities in this area.”