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'Heroes of Chemistry': Developed new drugs and technology to cut heating and cooling bills

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 19, 2012 The scientists behind three inventions that touch the lives of millions of people around the world will be inducted into a coveted scientific "Hall of Fame" today as the latest Heroes of Chemistry named by the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society.

The ceremony, held at the 244th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, which continues here through Thursday, will confer public recognition on scientific teams that developed:

  • The first oral drug for the most common and difficult-to-treat form of chronic hepatitis C, which infects more than 3 million people in the United States and 130-170 million worldwide.

  • Another new medicine for one form of adult leukemia that provided patients with an alternative treatment when the disease became drug-resistant.

  • The process, used around the world, for making "low-e window glass" and other glass coatings that saves millions of dollars each year in heating and cooling costs and significantly lowers energy consumption.

Established in 1996, the ACS Heroes of Chemistry program recognizes scientists whose work in various fields of chemistry and chemical engineering has led to the successful innovation and development of commercial products that benefit humankind.

Scientists from Merck, the global pharmaceutical firm known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, won the honor for developing the chronic hepatitis C drug Victrelis (boceprevir). They are Ashok Arasappan, Ph.D.; Frank Bennett, Ph.D.; Stphane Bogen, Ph.D.; F. George Njoroge, Ph.D.; and Srikanth Venkatraman, Ph.D.

Victrelis was the first oral hepatitis C virus protease inhibitor approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in combination with pegylated interferon alfa and ribavirin, to treat the most common type of chronic hepatitis C. Chronic hepatitis C is a viral infection that affects more than 130-170 million people worldwide and can cause serious liver damage.

Scientists from Novartis, the global pharmaceutical company, won the honor for developing the leukemia drug Tasigna (nilotinib). They are Paul Manley, Ph.D.; Gabriele Fendrich, Ph.D.; Werner Breitenstein, Ph.D.; and Sandra Jacob, Ph.D. Tasigna is a prescription medication for adults with newly diagnosed form of Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia and for patients who are resistant or intolerant to previous treatment.

Scientists from Arkema, Inc., a global producer of industrial chemicals won the honor for developing atmospheric pressure chemical vapor deposition technology. They are Dave Russo, Ph.D.; Jeff Stricker, Ph.D.; Georg Lindner; Jeremy Nihart; Ryan Smith, Ph.D.; Connie Lo; Jing Ming Mai; and Clem McKown. The technology deposits coatings of various chemicals onto the surface of glass, providing significantly increased solar heat gain control.

"Heroes of Chemistry are a visible reminder of the innovation, vitality and talent that our profession offers to society," said Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, Ph.D., ACS president. "Chemistry serves as the foundation for so many aspects of our lives. Chemistry is new products, new materials and a new hope for the future.

"We are honoring innovations that result from the support and vision of corporate management who invest in science, understand its application and advocate for it within their organizations. The corporate leaders at Arkema, Merck and Novartis have demonstrated the commitment that leads to breakthrough products and groundbreaking technologies. I salute each of these companies for creating the internal environment the culture that leads to scientific discovery and commercialization."

Contact: Michael Bernstein
215-418-2056 (Philadelphia Press Center, Aug. 17-23)

Michael Woods
215-418-2056 (Philadelphia Press Center, Aug. 17-23)
American Chemical Society


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