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About Us


Welcome To VTCDD

The Virginia Tech Center for Drug Discovery (VTCDD) is an interdisciplinary group committed to continuing the growth and advancing the stature of the existing drug discovery and development programs at Virginia Tech. It was founded in 2012 through a generous capital donation from the College of Science (COS), and from that point became a Center of the COS. Since 2013, recurrent funding for VTCDD has been generously provided by the Fralin Life Sciences Institute (FLSI), making VTCDD an affiliated center of FLSI.

VTCDD is led by a steering committee. Responsibilities of the committee include providing strategic direction, serving as a liaison with the university, coordinating VTCDD operations, and overseeing finances.

Our Goals

To assist Virginia Tech faculty members initiate drug discovery, disease biology, and drug delivery projects at Virginia Tech that lead to major collaborative federal grants and licensable technologies.

To develop physical infrastructure and foster an intellectual environment that facilitates recruitment of outstanding faculty and students.

To promote interdisciplinary training of graduate students and contribute to the growing drug discovery ecosystem in the Commonwealth.

photo of robert Gourdie and student in lab

Steering Committee

Irving Coy Allen, Assistant Professor, Biomedical Science

Paul Carlier, Professor, Chemistry  (Director)

Joe Falkinham, Emeritus Professor of Microbiology, Biological Sciences

Carla Finkielstein, Associate Professor, FBRI-VTC

Webster Santos, Professor, Chemistry

Abby Whittington, Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering


External Advisory Board

  • David Armistead, Ph.D.                                           Dr. Armistead began his medicinal chemistry career in 1986 as a Senior Scientist at Merck and Co.  He left Vertex to cofound Kinetix Pharmaceuticals, a company dedicated to the design of selective inhibitors of protein kinases, where he was CSO and VP of R&D.  When Kinetix was acquired by Amgen, he served as Vice President and Cambridge Site Head.  Following Amgen, he moved to the venture group, Oxford Biosciences, as an Executive in Residence.  While at Oxfored he assumed the role of CSO of the portfolio company CGI Pharmaceuticals which was ultimately acquired by Gilead Sciences.  Dr. Armistead then joined Third Rock Ventures where he was an Entrepreneur in Residence.  While at Third Rock he cofounded and was founding CSO of Blueprint Medicines, a company focused on personalized medicines in oncology.
  • John S. Lazo, Ph.D.
    Harrison Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Departments of Pharmacology & Chemistry,  and CSO of KeViRx. Dr. Lazo’s  primary research focus is on the mechanism of action of small molecules and on the fundamental biological role of protein tyrosine phosphatases.
  • Allen Reitz, Ph.D.
    CEO, ALS Biopharma LLC, and CEO Fox Chase Chemical Diversity Center Inc.  He has three decades of experience in medicinal chemistry, including 26 years with Johnson & Johnson.
  • J. Paul Waymack, M.D., Sc.D.
    Dr. Paul Waymack, MD, ScD, was the founder, the chairman of the board of directors, and chief medical officer of Kitov Pharmaceuticals - a publicly traded biotechnology company - prior to retiring in 2019 after the company's first NDA was approved by FDA.  Dr. Waymack currently serves on the board of directors, and the board of advisors of a number of pharmaceutical corporations, and as a drug development consultant.  He previously was also an associate professor at the New Jersey School of Medicine and Dentistry and was a Medical Reviewer at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.