Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News

How Pur­due's $272M ad­dic­tion pay­out fund­ed a new home for its dis­card­ed non-opi­oid re­search

Don Kyle spent more than 20 years work­ing for Pur­due Phar­ma, right through the US opi­oid epi­dem­ic that led to the com­pa­ny’s rise and even­tu­al in­famy. But con­trary to Pur­due’s fo­cus on Oxy­Con­tin, Kyle was re­search­ing non-opi­oid painkillers — that is, un­til the com­pa­ny shelved his re­search.

As the com­pa­ny’s le­gal trou­bles mount­ed, Kyle found an un­like­ly way to re­boot the project. In 2019, he took his work to an Ok­la­homa State Uni­ver­si­ty cen­ter that’s slat­ed to re­ceive more than two-thirds of the state’s $272 mil­lion set­tle­ment with Pur­due over claims that the drug­mak­er’s be­hav­ior ig­nit­ed the epi­dem­ic of opi­oid use and abuse.

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