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Media Contact: Leah Ludwig / 215-340-0480

The Natural Products Discovery Institute Announces Collaboration with the Ohio State University on Colon Cancer
(NIH Sponsored Investigator Dr. A. Douglas Kinghorn Investigates the Formerly Private Merck Natural Products Collection Donated to the Institute for Hepatitis and Virus Research)

DOYLESTOWN, PA (February 2012) –The Natural Products Discovery Institute (NPDI) has signed its second collaborative agreement to provide access to the formerly private Merck Natural Products Collection that was received as a donation from the company this past summer.  Dr. Douglas Kinghorn, Jack L. Beal Professor and Chair, College of Pharmacy, was funded by a grant from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) of the National Institutes of Health to gain access to this world-class collection.

The NPDI has signed an agreement with Ohio State that will allow the screening of thousands of its samples by the Kinghorn group in search of novel anti-cancer agents.  Plant extracts from the United States and Costa Rica will be compared for activity against a human colon cancer cell line and selectivity relative to healthy cells.  A select number of novel samples will be purified by activity-guided fractionation to characterize the bioactive principles. "I have known about the plant collection from Merck Research Laboratories for several years, and regard this as a very precious repository for potential drug discovery and development from natural resources.  I am delighted to have the opportunity to access this collection through the generous sponsorship of NCCAM," said Kinghorn.

The NPDI was established in June 2011 as a result of an unprecedented gift by Merck and Company of its entire U.S. Natural Products Library and the Schering-Plough Legacy Culture Collection to the Hepatitis B Foundation’s research affiliate, the Institute for Hepatitis and Virus Research. Together, this is one of the largest, most diverse, and most carefully developed natural products collections in the world. “I'm gratified that we are bringing new life to this priceless natural products collection by initiating our first collaborative projects,” said Dr. Michael Goetz.  Dr. Goetz is leading the NPDI and its team of researchers, who are experienced with the microbiology, chemistry and curatorship of this collection.

About the Natural Products institute (NPDI): The NPDI, a division of the Institute for Hepatitis and Virus Research (IHVR), is dedicated to making productive use of one of the world’s greatest collections of natural products for human benefit and to advance the goals of the Hepatitis B Foundation and its research affiliate, the IHVR. The NPDI will be a long- term resource for the discovery and development of products of biological origin and will provide industry standard follow-up chemistry to support bioassay driven structure identification and elucidation. To learn more, visit

About the Institute for Hepatitis and Virus Research (IHVR):
The IHVR is an independent nonprofit research institute established in 2003 by the Hepatitis B Foundation to conduct its discovery research and nurture translational biotechnology in an environment conducive to interaction, collaboration and focus. To learn more, visit

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