UCSF

Remembering Harry W. Hind - pharmacist, inventor, leader, benefactor

Harry W. Hind, a 1939 graduate of the UCSF School of Pharmacy who invented solutions that revolutionized contact lens use, as well as a topical patch to treat pain from shingles, died on April 12 at age 96.

Hind co-founded Barnes-Hind Pharmaceuticals Inc., which developed drugs to treat tuberculosis and glaucoma. He was a trustee of the UCSF Foundation and a major benefactor of the School of Pharmacy.

Hind and his wife, Diana, who passed away in 2011, gave a total of $5.3 million to establish the School’s first two distinguished professorships.

In 2005, he also gave $1 million to establish the Harry William Hind Dean’s Endowment Fund, a discretionary fund for use by the dean of the School of Pharmacy to meet pressing priorities and opportunities.

The first Harry W. and Diana V. Hind Distinguished Professorship in Pharmaceutical Sciences is held by James Wells, PhD , supporting his work in drug discovery. Wells is chair of the School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry.

The second professorship is held by Shuvo Roy, PhD, supporting his work in the development of medical devices, including a project to create an implantable bioartificial kidney. Roy is a faculty member in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, a joint department of the UCSF Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine.

Taking into account additional major gifts to aid research in neurology and preserving vision, Hind had given more than $7.5 million to UCSF at the time of his death.

While still a pharmacy student, Hind worked with classmate Clifford Barnes and their professor, Frank Goyan, PhD, to develop a meter to measure the pH (acidity and alkalinity) of biological solutions—including tears—in a direct, standardized way. The device was a forerunner of pH meters used universally today.

After graduation, this work led Hind and Barnes to open a dispensing and manufacturing pharmacy, initially just to meet ophthalmologists’ needs for prescription eye solutions. The pair also co-founded Barnes-Hind Pharmaceutical Laboratories. Barnes left the partnership in 1941 to become a career naval officer.

Eventually, as he told Contemporary Optometry in 1989, Hind developed the first buffering solutions to treat the buildup of acidity associated with early contact lenses, which covered the whole eye, making longer wear possible. When the contact lens design covering just the cornea was developed, his wetting, soaking, and cleaning solutions were crucial to enabling their widespread use.

Under his leadership, Barnes-Hind Pharmaceuticals evolved from the laboratories, relocated from San Francisco to Sunnyvale, California, and developed wide-ranging products. These included an epinephrine formulation for glaucoma and one of the first drugs to treat tuberculosis, para-aminosalicyclic acid. The company was acquired by Revlon Corporation in 1976, and Hind stayed on as chairman.

When his wife developed shingles in 1989 and required multiple subcutaneous injections yielding only limited pain relief, Hind combined an anesthetic gel and plastic wrap to relieve her discomfort. Hind then worked with UCSF faculty members to conduct clinical tests on a topical pain-relieving patch. Trade-named Lidoderm, it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1999 and has brought relief to thousands of patients.

For his work and publications, Hind received the Ebert Prize, the oldest pharmacy award in the United States, from the American Pharmacists Association. He was also honored with numerous major ophthalmological and optometric organization awards throughout his life as well as two honorary degrees, including a Doctor of Laws from UCSF (the precursor to the UCSF medal).

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About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy is a premier graduate-level academic organization dedicated to improving health through precise therapeutics. It succeeds through innovative research, by educating PharmD health professional and PhD science students, and by caring for the therapeutics needs of patients while exploring innovative new models of patient care. The School was founded in 1872 as the first pharmacy school in the American West. It is an integral part of UC San Francisco, a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide.