Hale Named MacArthur Fellow
Victoria Hale, PhD, UCSF School of Pharmacy PhD alumnus in pharmaceutical chemistry, and founder and CEO of the Institute for OneWorld Health is one of 25 prestigious 2006 MacArthur Fellows, as announced September 19, 2006, by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation of Chicago, Illinois. Fellows are selected for their creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions in the future. They each receive US$500,000 in unrestricted support over 5 years.
"Selection for a MacArthur Fellowship is the culmination of an intensive review of the creative efforts and promise of each Fellow. Our call comes as a complete surprise and offers the new Fellows the gift of time and an unfettered opportunity to reflect, explore, and create," said MacArthur Foundation President, Jonathan Fanton.
OneWorld Health, which was founded in July 2000 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California, is the first non-profit pharmaceutical company in the United States. Its purpose is to develop safe, effective, and affordable medicines for people with neglected diseases in the developing world.
As a result of Hale's work and her team at OneWorld Health and in collaboration with funders, the World Health Organization, the government of India, drug manufacturers and others, the Indian government approved paromomycin intramuscular injection for the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) on August 31, 2006. VL is the second largest parasitic killer after malaria.
"This is a thrilling moment for the many people who have worked long and hard to make it happen," said Hale. "For the people we serve -- people suffering from diseases that for far too long have been neglected because they are so poor -- the approval of paromomycin IM injection means that lives that would have been lost can now be saved . . . At the same time, we're already turning our attention to new challenges. We're exploring the possibility of developing drugs that will treat diarrheal diseases, which kill millions around the world every year, most of them young children. We're also in the early stages of developing an inexpensive way to manufacture a promising drug to fight malaria. And we're continuously evaluating other technologies that may prove effective against other neglected diseases."
"As a PhD graduate student at UCSF, Victoria was determined to have a career that would impact health," commented Leslie Z. Benet, PhD, professor, department of biopharmaceutical sciences, UCSF School of Pharmacy, graduate student advisor to Hale, and member of the OneWorld Health Board of Directors. "Look at her now. She has succeeded where many have failed in creating a non-profit pharmaceutical company. She created a unique win-win situation for both industry and the developing world with OneWorld Health. She does not accept limitations inherent in conventional approaches to pharmaceutical development. OneWorld Health is not simply a company -- because of Victoria it is now a movement that galvanizes the good will and energy from pharmaceutical scientists and other professionals all over the world. I am very proud of her accomplishments and her vision."
After receiving her doctoral degree from UCSF in 1990, Hale served as chief scientific officer and co-founder of Axiom Biomedical, Inc., as a scientist at Genentech, Inc., and as a senior reviewer for the US Food and Drug Administration. Since 2002, she has also been an adjunct associate professor with the department of biopharmaceutical sciences at the UCSF School of Pharmacy.