The Sternfels Prize for Drug Safety Discoveries Announces 2021 Winner

IRVINE, Calif., Feb. 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The winner of the 2021 Sternfels Prize for Drug Safety Discoveries has been announced, according to contest officials. Yiwei Liu, Ph.D. was awarded the annual prize of $35,000 for her proposal “Repurposing Common Excipients to Prevent High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Glycol Hypersensitivity.” Dr. Liu is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Dr. Liu is the fifth winner of the prestigious prize, joining an elite group of previous winners. When asked about her research, Dr. Liu said, “Biological effects of non-active ingredients in medications are gaining attention. Some of those additives are now getting a closer look for their ability to cause allergic reactions. The goal of my proposal is to provide a new strategy for consideration to prevent some of these reactions.”

Judge Dr. Sara Van Driest commented, “Dr. Liu’s application stood out due to its novel hypothesis, rigorous approach, and potential for clinical utility. Her proposed research may lead to an effective strategy to prevent patients, particularly pediatric cancer patients, from experiencing hypersensitivity to PEGylated medications.” Dr. Van Driest is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine and a Co-Director of the Center for Pediatric Precision Medicine at Vanderbilt.

The Sternfels Prize was created to incentivize scientists of all types to think about ways to minimize the risk of side effects patients face when taking prescription drugs. The cash prize is awarded annually to the most novel, clinically relevant, and testable idea to reduce life-threatening drug-related adverse events.

Sundar Srinivasan, Chief Executive Officer of Emerald Lake Safety, which was the 2021 underwriter of the award said, “Dr. Liu’s proposal is a great example of what the Sternfels Prize hopes to inspire – motivating researchers to develop solutions to real-world drug safety issues, in this case allergic reactions to excipients. Her project has the potential to keep patients out of harm’s way. It’s very exciting!”

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SOURCE The Sternfels Prize for Drug Safety Discoveries