College Cashes In on Diabetes Pain Drug

Northwestern University rakes in $700 million for drug used for diabetes pain.

Dec. 19, 2007— -- EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) - Northwestern University has sold part of its royalty interest in a painkiller made by Pfizer for $700 million in cash.

University officials haven't announced what percentage of their interest was sold to New York-based Royalty Pharma.

Researchers at Northwestern were the first to synthesize the chemical compound pregabalin, which is the basis of the drug Lyrica. Part of the $700 million payment to Northwestern will go to those researchers. The rest will be placed in the university's endowment.

Lyrica is used to treat nerve pain associated with diabetes and shingles and to manage the pain of fibromyalgia. It is manufactured by New York-based Pfizer.

Officials say the deal is the largest of its kind.