Kansas University has filled a key position as it pushes forward to meet its goal of becoming a national leader in cancer research.
Scott Weir, a professor in KU Medical Center's pharmacology, toxicology and therapeutics department, has been named director of the KU Cancer Center's Office of Therapeutics, Discovery and Development.
KU is aiming for federal "cancer center" designation. The status would make the Lawrence and the medical center campuses eligible for additional federal funding and would enable KU to participate in clinical trials involving cutting-edge drugs for cancer patients.
Weir said he joined the center because he believes the initiative will work.
"I think it'll be successful," he said.
Roy Jensen, director of the Kansas Masonic Cancer Research Institute whose new title is director of the KU Cancer Center, said Weir will help leverage the strengths of KU's School of Pharmacy - a major goal.
Weir will divide his time between the Medical Center and Lawrence campuses. His salary is $235,000, with funds coming from KU's Lawrence campus, KU Medical Center and private donations.
Weir worked for nearly two decades in pharmaceutical research and development. From 1999 to 2005, he worked at Quintiles Inc. in Kansas City, Mo., as executive director of biopharmaceutical sciences and vice president for early development and laboratory services. He also has worked with the Kansas City area companies Hoechst Marion Roussel Inc., Marion Merrell Dow Inc., Marion Laboratories and Aptuit LLC.
Three key positions for the cancer center initiative have yet to be filled: a deputy director, assistant director for basic science at the Lawrence campus and associate director for basic science.