Edward C. Taylor, inventor of the anti-cancer drug Alimta has, with his wife Virginia, donated $1 million to establish an endowed fund for chemistry research at Hamilton College.  Alimta has now been on the market for four-and-a-half years. It is approved in 92 countries, including the United States, for both first-line and second-line lung cancer, and is the only drug approved for the treatment of mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Alimta is also in clinical trials for breast, head, neck and thyroid cancer.

The Taylor couple has established The Edward and Virginia Taylor Fund for Student/Faculty Research in Chemistry at Hamilton College. The $1 million fund was established to inspire students interested in chemical research and to facilitate their work. The fund will offer students the chance to pursue research in organic chemistry, biochemistry, physical chemistry and other divisions of chemical research beginning in the summer of 2009.

In the developmental and research stages of Alimta, Taylor’s Princeton lab did not have the facilities to turn the compound he synthesized into an effective medication. In 1985 a formal partnership between Princeton and Eli Lilly was established with the objective of exploring this new research and development in depth. Hundreds of new compounds were prepared and examined; finally, Taylor came up with a new compound that was extraordinarily promising. After 12 years of extensive efforts by Lilly, this compound became the new cancer drug, Alimta.

Beginning in 2009, Taylor’s gift will offer students at Hamilton the opportunity to follow a similar path of discovery and this donation offers the world new hope for future treatments of devastating illnesses.