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Baruch S. Blumberg Institute Honors Six Scientists for Life-Saving Research
Date:11/2/2015

Six scientists associated with the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute will have a permanent place of honor at its research center near Philadelphia for significantly advancing the treatment of such debilitating diseases as HIV, epilepsy and hepatitis C infection.

The Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, the research arm of the Hepatitis B Foundation, has unveiled a Drug Inventors Wall of Fame to recognize the six outstanding scientists whose drug discoveries, made prior to their arrival at the institute’s research center, have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human use. The Drug Inventors Wall of Fame was unveiled during a ceremony on Oct. 20, 2015. Each of the six scientists now is either an adjunct professor with the Blumberg Institute and/or working at start-up companies headquartered at the research center.

“The scientists immortalized on this Wall of Fame have made enormous contributions to the field of medicine and to the relief of human suffering,” said Dr. Timothy Block, president and co-founder of the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute and the Hepatitis B Foundation. “The Blumberg Institute is proud to provide an environment in which scientists can be recognized and appreciated by the society that they have served so well with their commitment to life-changing research.”

Drug development is a notoriously slow, expensive process. It can take 10 to 15 years or longer to discover a drug, and can cost upwards of $1 billion.

“The path of a scientist often is a lonely one. For every drug that is approved, there are dozens if not hundreds of failures and dead ends. Researchers remain focused on their work, however, because they know that one day, they may be able to cure disease or ease suffering,” said Wayne Yetter, founding CEO of AstraMerck and former CEO of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. and a member of the Hepatitis B Foundation’s Board of Directors. “Pausing to celebrate the achievements of these scientists reminds us all how vital the process of discovery and innovation is both to boosting our economy and improving quality of life for all of us.”

The six inaugural inductees to the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute Wall of Fame are:

Hank Breslin, M.S. Now Head of Medicinal Chemistry for Atrin Pharmaceuticals, Breslin is the co-discoverer of eluxadoline (Viberzi®), a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea. During his 25-year career at Johnson & Johnson, Breslin designed the enterology chemistry program and led the team whose research efforts culminated in the development of eluxadoline. The drug was approved by the FDA earlier this year. He lives in Lansdale, Pennsylvania.

Bruce Dorsey, Ph.D. Now Vice President of Chemistry at Arbutus Biopharma, Dr. Dorsey began his career at Merck & Co. where his work led to the discovery of indinavir sulfate (Crixivan™), an HIV protease inhibitor launched by Merck in 1996. The achievement led to national and international recognition for Dorsey, with several awards, most recently the 2007 European Inventor of the Year. Dorsey has co-authored 62 publications in chemistry and drug discovery and is a co-inventor on 41 patents and patent applications. He lives in Ambler, Pennsylvania.

Patrick Y. Lam, Ph.D. Dr. Lam is a co-discoverer of apixaban (Eliquis®), which was approved by the FDA in 2012 for use as an anticoagulant. Already internationally known as the co-discoverer of the Chan-Lam Coupling Reaction, Lam led the research team that was responsible for the discovery of apixaban while a director at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Now an independent consultant, Lam is an inventor on 36 patents and patent applications. He lives in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.

Bruce E. Maryanoff, Ph.D. A Distinguished Professor at the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute and Advisor to the Pennsylvania Drug Discovery Institute, Dr. Maryanoff is the discoverer of topiramate (Topamax®), a treatment for epilepsy and migraine headaches that the FDA approved for sale in 1996. Dr. Maryanoff has published 278 scientific papers and is an inventor on 100 U.S. patents. He retired in 2010 from Johnson & Johnson after 36 years in the medicinal chemistry field. He lives in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Stacy W. Remiszewski, Ph.D. Dr. Remiszewski is the co-inventor of panobinostat (Farydak®), which the FDA approved in February 2015 for the treatment of multiple myeloma. Now Head of Chemistry at FORGE Life Science, Remiszewski led the team that discovered Farydak while he was with the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research. A research veteran with more than 20 years of experience, he is a co-inventor on 30 U.S. patents. He lives in Washington Township, New Jersey.

Michael J. Sofia, Ph.D. Dr. Sofia is the inventor of sofosbuvir (Sovaldi®), the revolutionary cure for hepatitis C infection approved by the FDA in 2013, and the sofosbuvir/ledipasvir combination (Harvoni®) approved in 2014. Sofia invented sofosbuvir while at Pharmasset Inc., and, after Pharmasset was acquired by Gilead Sciences in 2011, went on to found a new biopharma company. He now is Chief Scientific Officer at Arbutus Biopharma, which is dedicated to discovering, developing and commercializing a cure for chronic hepatitis B infection. He has authored more than 100 publications and is an inventor on more than 47 U.S. patents. He lives in Buckingham, Pennsylvania.

About the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute: The Baruch S. Blumberg Institute was established by the Hepatitis B Foundation as an independent, nonprofit research institute to fulfill its research mission and to conduct discovery research and nurture translational biotechnology in an environment conducive to interaction, collaboration and focus. The research center was renamed in 2013 to honor Baruch S. Blumberg who won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the hepatitis B virus. To learn more, visit http://www.blumberginstitute.org.

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/11/prweb13054708.htm.


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