Long Island University Awarded New York State HECap Grant to Fund New Drug Discovery Platform


New Cutting-Edge Technology Platform Expands LIU’s Research Portfolio, Provides Opportunities For New In-Demand Degrees

Brookville, NY, April 2, 2021 – Long Island University, a nationally ranked University, took another step forward to expand its innovative research portfolio with the announcement of a $378,000 award from the New York State Higher Education Capital (HECap) Matching Grant Program. LIU will use the grant towards the construction of an open-access Drug Discovery Platform to be housed in the College of Pharmacy, the first pharmacy school in New York.

The Drug Discovery Platform will inspire student innovation in drug design and development, spin-off companies, as well as provide a local resource for critical research and development for companies to move products from design to market. Construction is scheduled to begin spring 2021.

“Long Island University continues to invest in cutting-edge initiatives to expand our degree offerings and training for careers in the 4th industrial revolution-inspired job market, and contribute to our region’s growing life sciences corridor,” said Long Island University President Kimberly R. Cline.

With HECap support, the Digital Drug Design Platform academic programs will provide opportunities for new BSE and MS degrees in Digital Health and Engineering at LIU for up to 500 new students, with additional students attracted to LIU for the Artificial Intelligence Digital Engineering-enhanced health curricula.

Dr. Randy Burd, senior vice president for academic affairs, added “We are honored to receive the HECap grant and appreciate New York State’s support for our new Drug Discovery Platform.”

The platform will include a FabLab for tech transfer, prototyping, and serve as a driver for economic development. FabLabs are digital fabrication laboratories equipped with an array of cutting-edge tools to convert ideas into 3D digital prototypes.  This will provide a high-tech, digital platform at LIU’s Digital Health Institute to respond to demand from pharma and nutraceutical companies for R&D that can enable product success. The Drug Discovery Platform will offer end-to-end solutions to empower organizations to discover, design, develop, and manufacture biologics from concept to commercial manufacturing.  Initial estimates indicate up to 20 outside contracts will be implemented, with 30 LIU R&D projects benefitting from the FabLab.

“The Digital Discovery Platform will continue to keep LIU at the leading edge of research and innovation,” said Arnold and Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy (LIU Pharmacy) Dean Dr. Arash Dabestani. “We are grateful for the HECAP grant which supports LIU’s continued efforts to meet the demand for high technology readiness for our students and our region’s growing pharma and nutraceutical sectors.”

The HECap Matching Grant Program is a competitive grant program that stimulates economic growth in communities across New York by providing matching funds to help independent institutions perform important upgrades to their campuses.

LIU Drug Discovery Platform

Long Island University’s drug discovery platform will include two laboratory components: The 3DEXPERIENCE® platform (3DS) for learning, certification and professional training; and the FabLab digital fabrication laboratory equipped with an array of cutting-edge tools to convert ideas into 3D digital prototypes.

The 3DS platform will be the Drug Discovery Platform’s discovery education and training arm and will rely on new, collaborative teaching/learning paradigms that seize new digital and Artificial Intelligence (AI) environments — equipping students and professionals with skills and knowledge required to be successful global leaders in the 21st century digital-driven environments.

Activities in the FabLab will focus on generating innovative biological products for use in preclinical studies and Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials, including generic drugs manufacturing, therapeutic antibodies, Diagnostic Kits, Immunotherapies, veterinary vaccines, and Neuromicrobiology, and thereby covering a diverse infectious disease, cancer treatment, and prevention portfolio. The goal of LIU’s state-of-the-art FabLab manufacturing facility is to meet all FDA Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards when it reaches steady state. The FabLab will also offer testing in molecular genetics – specifically Covid-19 and other infectious diseases.

This interactive cyber learning platform will support various digital drug discovery courses, thus allowing students to explore technical problems from a systems-level perspective, including the opportunity to acquire aptitude in inter-connected algorithmic intelligence, science and engineering principles – required skills for understanding intelligent behavior, learning, and adaptation with machines, robots and body-less computer programs. Teaching pedagogy will emphasize virtual and real project-based learning that simulates contextual environments — making learning exciting and relevant for digital and AI solutions.

HECap Grants

Since the program’s inception, HECap Grants have created well over $1 billion in infrastructure spending across New York and more than 14,000 jobs, including 7,000 construction jobs that paid prevailing wage. For every $1 of state funds awarded, colleges and universities in New York match at least $3 in support of their projects.  Prior HECap awards for LIU include a $618,250 grant in 2019 to for construction of a Confocal Microscopy Core Laboratory and a $500,000 grant in 2018 to build a Medicinal Chemistry Laboratory.

About Long Island University

Long Island University, founded in 1926, continues to redefine higher education, providing high quality academic instruction by world-class faculty. Recognized by Forbes for its emphasis on experiential learning and by the Brookings Institution for its “value added” to student outcomes, LIU offers over 250 degree programs, with a network of 270,000 alumni that includes industry leaders and entrepreneurs across the globe. Visit liu.edu for more information.