Drug settlement will help entire University

A legal battle that began in October 1998 ended Monday, rewarding the University with an estimated $300 million. The case involved the patent rights of a drug called Ziagen, an anti-HIV medicine. While there are many ways to spend the money, given the constraints placed on the University by the settlement, the University has made wise choices for how the money is to be allocated.
Glaxo Wellcome, the pharmaceutical company that manufactures Ziagen, has agreed to pay royalties on the sale of the drug. The company currently owes at least $6 million from year-to-date sales alone, according to University calculations.
The University is required to use a portion of the royalty payments on scientific research and education. This is about $200 million. University administrators are already planning how they will use the money: A large chunk will go to the construction of a new Center for Drug Discovery in the College of Pharmacy, while another portion will be used to establish a University-wide endowment for graduate students.
The remainder of the money, about $100 million, will be paid out to Robert Vince, the University professor who developed the drug. There are no stipulations on how Vince and his research assistant can spend the money.
This is the nation’s largest legal recovery by a public university. The administration’s decision to spread the wealth throughout the University by creating endowments is a good choice that will allow the University community at large to benefit.