News and analysis
February 08, 2015

No. 20: Fred Eshelman

Amount donated in 2014: $103-million

Beneficiary: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Background: Dr. Eshelman founded Pharmaceutical Product Development, a consulting firm he sold in 2011 to the Carlyle Group. He also founded Furiex Pharmaceuticals, a drug-development company he sold in 2014.

A pharmacist and businessman, 66-year-old Dr. Eshelman pledged $100-million to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Eshelman School of Pharmacy to establish the Eshelman Institute for Innovation, where the money will go toward research, hiring more faculty, and creating new programs to develop drugs and spin-off pharmaceutical companies.

His ties to the university go far and deep. He earned a bachelor of science in pharmacy in 1972 and is an adjunct professor in the pharmacy school, which was named for him in 2008.

While this is not his first donation to the university (he had previously given a total of $38-million), it is his biggest.

"It’s designed so that in the long run it should be self-sustaining," said Dr. Eshelman. "If some of these things are successful, then we can commercialize them, and the money that comes back in should more than keep this thing going."

He also gave $3-million for the university’s Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery, where university scientists work on evaluating and developing potential new drugs.

Send an e-mail to Maria Di Mento.