The Hebrew University’s School of Pharmacy is this week celebrating the founding of Israel’s first Institute for Drug Research (IDR) – the only one of its kind in the country.

The IDR will operate within the Hebrew University’s School of Pharmacy. As teams and individuals, the institute’s researchers have discovered new drugs and invented novel drug-delivery platforms for the treatment of a variety of clinical disorders, including allergies, cancer, age related and neurological diseases, brain trauma, diabetes and drug addiction.

Over the years, 13 start-up companies have been established based on the research of the institute’s current research staff. Collectively, the institute’s scientists have registered more than 200 patents, totaling more than 25 percent of all approved patent applications of the Hebrew University.

Four novel drugs developed by the institute’s researchers and commercialized by Yissum, the research and development company of the Hebrew University, are on the market. The most well-known is Exelon, a drug which delays the onset of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. In the year 2008 alone, income from this drug – which is marketed worldwide by Novartis, was US $815 million.