About CDD


New Molecules for Better Health


The Center for Drug Design was conceived by Robert Vince, PhD, medicinal chemist and researcher at the University of Minnesota. He is the holder of more than 20 patents in the anti-cancer, anti-viral, and anti-microbial fields, and is now the director of the Center. One of his most significant contributions was the design of carbovir, a potent anti-HIV/AIDS drug. This led to the establishment of the Center for Drug Design on January 8, 2002. At that time, Senior Vice President, Frank Cerra, MD, and the Council of Deans of the Academic Health Center at the University of Minnesota voted on and approved its creation. The guiding principle behind the Center's creation is to unite efficient, high-level research with the design and development of highly effective drugs.


The Center for Drug Design (CDD) is a distinctive, cutting edge research facility in the Academic Health Center of the University of Minnesota. We are dedicated to:

  • Providing a research environment for leading scientists
  • Sharing unique strategies within the scientific community
  • Developing novel drug therapies
  • Vigorously pursuing an academic research agenda
  • Transferring scientific knowledge
  • Designing and developing new medicines to benefit people worldwide
  • Supporting the interaction of many disciplines and areas of study
  • Creating a focal point for research

How we are funded:

The Center for Drug Design is supported by royalty income through a drug company licensing agreement. All funds are used to support faculty and administrative staff, postdoctoral and student training, laboratory and equipment costs.

21st Century Endowment Fund:

Two central objectives for the Center for Drug Design are to develop novel drugs that will benefit people, and to translate scientific knowledge into practical application. Professor Robert Vince has done just that when he developed carbovir, an antiviral AIDS drug.

From sales of the drug, the University of Minnesota receives a licensing fee and has used these resources for academic advancement. This has had a wide and positive impact on the university community as a whole.
One important area of concentration has been graduate education. There are 185 graduate programs throughout the university's Graduate School, with almost 10,000 students enrolled. Income from the licensing agreement has spurred creation of the 21st Century Graduate Fellowship Endowment. This endowment fund supports fellowship education across the entire University of Minnesota. By offering these important fellowships, it allows the university to compete with other top-notch schools, to attract and train the best graduate students. Some of the funds within this endowment are the Strategic Research Fund, Strategic Research Endowment, the Graduate Fellowship fund, and the Graduate Fellowship Endowment. These are specified as matching funds, doubling the potential of donor gifts.