New 'Heroes of Chemistry' developed products that improve health and protect food supply

September 8th, 2013
Scientists who developed medicines and crop protection products that improve life for millions of people around the world will be inducted into a scientific "Hall of Fame" today, becoming the newest Heroes of Chemistry, an honor bestowed by the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society.

Heroes of Chemistry recognizes scientists whose innovative work in chemistry and chemical engineering led to the development of commercial products that benefit humankind.

The ceremony, part of the ACS' 246th National Meeting & Exposition, which began today and continues through Thursday, will honor scientific teams that developed:

  • A new insect-control product that has an excellent environmental profile and protects the global food supply from damaging insects to help feed a growing population that is surging beyond 7 billion.
  • The first medicine approved in a class of antiretroviral drugs called integrase inhibitors for the treatment of HIV-1 infection. HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, infects 70 million people.
  • A drug that brought "personalized medicine" –– treatment tailored for the genetic endowment of individual patients –– to people with a form of lung cancer that occurs in younger nonsmokers.
  • A new "personalized medicine" drug for people with cystic fibrosis, which treats the underlying cause of the disease in patients with a specific genetic mutation.

"The Heroes of Chemistry program highlights the vital role of chemists who work in pharmaceutical companies and other industry settings to improve human welfare by inventing and introducing new products and other innovations," said Marinda Li Wu, Ph.D., ACS president. "All too often, the people behind the products remain anonymous and invisible to the public that benefits so much. This is a wonderful opportunity to publically recognize those scientists and their companies for innovation, creativity and dedication that improves everyday life. The 2013 Heroes have my heart-felt congratulations, thanks and appreciation."

Scientists from DuPont were honored for developing the insecticide DuPont Rynaxypyr® (chlorantraniliprole). They are John H. Freudenberger, Ph.D.; Thomas P. Selby, Ph.D.; Daniel Cordova; George P. Lahm, Ph.D.; and Thomas M. Stevenson, Ph.D. Rynaxypyr® has one of the lowest toxicity profiles of all insect-control products, including products derived from natural sources, yet is one of the most potent and selective insect-control products ever discovered.

Scientists from Merck & Co., Inc., became new Heroes for developing Isentress® (raltegravir), a potent integrase inhibitor for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in patients as part of combination HIV therapy. They are David Askin, Ph.D.; Peter Maligres, Ph.D.; Joseph Vacca, Ph.D.; Guy Humphrey, Ph.D.; Michael Rowley, Ph.D.; John Wai, Ph.D.; Ralph Laufer, Ph.D.; Enzo Summa, Ph.D.; and Steven Young, Ph.D.

Scientists from Pfizer won the honor for developing Xalkori® (crizotinib), a drug that fights a genetic defect causing some lung cancers. They are Jingrong Cui, Ph.D.; Michelle Tran-Dubé; Pei-Pei Kung, Ph.D.; Mason Pairish; and Hong Shen.

Scientists from Vertex, a global biotechnology company, won the honor for developing KALYDECO (ivacaftor), a medicine for people with cystic fibrosis (CF) who have a specific mutation in their CF gene called the G551D mutation. They are Vijayalaksmi Arumugam, Ph.D.; Brian Bear, Ph.D.; Peter D. J. Grootenhuis, Ph.D.; Jason McCartney; Jinglan Zhou, Ph.D.; Anna Hazlewood; Sabine Hadida, Ph.D.; Adam Looker, Ph.D.; Bobbianna Neubert-Langille, Ph.D.; David Willcox, Ph.D.; Michael Ryan; and Zhifeng Ye, Ph.D.

Provided by American Chemical Society

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