UBC opens new $133M Pharmaceutical Sciences Building

Media Release: September 18, 2012

Credit: Saucier + Perrotte Architectes / Hughes Condon Marler Architects

The University of British Columbia today officially opens the new Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences Building, a state-of-the-art learning and research facility that will enable UBC to graduate 224 new pharmacists per year by 2015 – a 47 per cent increase – and more than double the research space for drug discovery and health care innovation.

“The new Pharmaceutical Sciences Building is a remarkable achievement, and redefines the future of pharmacy education and practice in the province,” says UBC President Stephen Toope.

“Our government is committed to providing students with the education they need to succeed,” says John Yap, B.C. Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology. “This facility will ensure that B.C. has the pharmacists it needs to help meet the health-care needs of British Columbians now, and for the future.”

The $133-million, 246,000-square-foot building also supports the expansion of Masters, Doctoral, and Doctor of Pharmacy programs, and offers a new home to several other research organizations, including the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD). The B.C. government contributed $86.4-million for the new facility.

“Our Faculty is committed to innovation in learning, research and practice to inspire wellness and health outcomes,” says Dean Sindelar. “Our new building’s collaborative learning and research infrastructure will greatly increase our capacity to lead the world in pharmaceutical sciences and create an environment that challenges our students address real world health issues.”

The new building also increases the Faculty’s community presence. The Story of Medicines, a permanent interactive exhibit that tells the story of pharmacy through hands-on touch screen technology, games, and historical pharmacy artifacts, will help visitors better understand the pharmacy profession, the development of drugs and how they interact with the body.

In addition, a proposed pharmacy clinic will enable students and practitioners around the province to gain valuable experience working with patients. Supervised by licensed pharmacists, students will provide medication counseling to members of the public.

NB: High resolution photographs of the building in .tif format are available at http://db.tt/bxGGakFj. To view the photographs and captions, visit: www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/?p=62783. Video of the Story of Medicines is available at http://db.tt/7cB0CLpP and http://db.tt/tMDkI6lo.

The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Established in 1946, the UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences advances knowledge, health outcomes and the profession of pharmacy leading to enhanced societal benefit and optimal patient care. With more than 5,000 alumni, the Faculty specializes in pharmacy education, research and practice.

The Faculty offers degree programs in Bachelor of Science (750 undergraduate entry-to-practice students in 2012/2013 academic year), Master of Science and PhD (54 graduate students in 2012/13) and PharmD (16 Doctor of Pharmacy students in 2012/13). It also offers non-degree programs in continuing pharmacy professional development, pharmacy practice, and community pharmacy residency.

Building features

Located on the ground and mezzanine levels of the new pharmacy building, the Story of Medicines exhibit comprises both historical displays and touch screen technology that enables visitors to learn about various aspects of the pharmacy profession and drug development.

Authentic pharmacy artifacts include Art Deco Apothecary Show Globes – Circa 1920, Antique Apothecary Balance Scale & Brass Weights – Circa 1890′s, and an Antique Apothecary Pill Rolling Board – Circa 1880.

Visitors can interact with the Story of Medicines through life-size interactive and touch screen technology, the Impact Media Wall, an E-postcard kiosk, and the Digital Alumni Yearbook.


Winner of a 2012 Canadian Architect Award of Excellence, the new Pharmaceutical Sciences Building is built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification, and addresses sustainability in several key areas, including energy and water measures.

A high-efficiency irrigation system will significantly reduce potable water usage for landscaping purposes. Potable water in building operations is anticipated to be reduced by 20 per cent.

Materials with high levels of recycled content (e.g. steel and flyash concrete), locally manufactured and regionally harvested materials, and responsibly sourced materials such as FSC-certified wood had priority in the procuring and specifying process. During the construction phase, at least 75 per cent of waste was diverted from the landfill.

Building occupants

Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), an independent, non-profit organization that translates research discoveries into new medicines. Through the partnership with the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, CDRD is able to provide valuable scientific, technical and commercial expertise needed to assess whether research breakthroughs will lead to the development of a viable drug. Learn more at www.cdrd.ca.

A $9.4 million expansion to the Faculty of Dentistry’s existing imaging facility, the Centre for High-Throughput Phenogenomics is funded by contributions from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the BC Knowledge Development Fund. The bioimaging equipment slated for this centre includes a focused ion beam scanning electron microscope, a white light laser confocal microscope, optical projection tomography, a MALDI LTQ Orbitrap tandem mass spectrometer and a variety of in vivo and in vitro micro-CT scanners. The core research personnel—a unique assembly of top researchers drawn from multiple disciplines—represent the UBC faculties of dentistry, medicine and pharmaceutical sciences. Learn more at www.phenogenomics.dentistry.ubc.ca.

Contact Information

Jimi Galvao, UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Tel: 604.827.3309
Cell: 604.710.9355
E-mail: jimi.galvao@ubc.ca

Brian Lin, UBC Public Affairs
Tel: 604.822.2234
Cell: 604.818.5685
E-mail: brian.lin@ubc.ca

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
2405 Wesbrook Mall
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z3
Tel (Dean’s Office): 604.822.2343

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