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Purdue adding medical research buildings

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Purdue University will spend nearly $70 million to construct health and life science research facilities in West Lafayette.

The school’s trustees on Monday approved a drug-discovery center and a health and human science research facility.

The $25 million drug-discovery facility, to open in July 2013 next to the Hansen Life Science Research Building, will in part replace aging lab space in Wetherill Laboratory. Jeffrey Roberts, dean of the College of Science, said the new facility will bring some of Purdue's drug-discovery researchers into a common space to share ideas.

"The building will put Purdue on the map nationally as a center of excellence in drug discovery,” Roberts said in a statement.

Purdue's biggest drug discovery success to date is Endocyte Inc.. The company is developing cancer drugs based on research at Purdue and has now filed for an initial public offering. Endocyte wants to raise $86 million in the IPO to go along with a new infusion of $15 million in debt financing it just secured, to push its drugs through late-stage human trials.

Purdue also will build a $54 million health and human sciences facility to house the Indiana University School of Medicine Lafayette campus, a new Purdue College of Health and Human Sciences and the Purdue Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences.

Life and health sciences constitute one of five focus areas for Purdue’s research efforts, which attracted a record $438 million in funding during the past fiscal year, a 30-percent increase over the previous year. The surge was fueled by the federal stimulus bill.

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