Local scientists named ‘Heroes of Chemistry’ by world’s largest scientific society

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21, 2017 — Members of a team of Merck scientists were honored as “Heroes of Chemistry” yesterday evening by the American Chemical Society (ACS). They are being recognized for inventing ZEPATIER ® (elbasvir and grazoprevir), a one-pill, once-a-day oral combination product to treat chronic hepatitis C infections in adults. Approved by the FDA in January 2016, the drug can treat a broad range of hepatitis C patients and achieve cure rates of between 94-97 percent. This innovation resulted from a collaboration between researchers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Italy and China.

You can view a video highlighting this innovation at:

The following Merck scientists were honored: Craig Coburn, Ph.D.; Nigel Liverton, Ph.D.; Daria Hazuda, Ph.D.; Kate Holloway, Ph.D.; John McCauley, Ph.D.; Craig McKelvey, Ph.D.; Mark McLaughlin, Ph.D.; Peter Meinke, Ph.D.; Michael Rudd, Ph.D.; Feng Xu, Ph.D.; and Ping Zhaung, Ph.D. Two scientists with WuXi AppTec in China were also honored for their role in the development of ZEPATIER ®: Bin Hu, Ph.D., and Bin Zhong, Ph.D.  Honorees from IRBM Science Park in Rome include: Steven Harper, Ph.D., and Vincenzo Summa, Ph.D.    

“Through the 2017 ACS Heroes of Chemistry program, we are honoring scientists whose risk-taking and drive to innovate have contributed to the advancement of the human condition,” says Allison Campbell, Ph.D., ACS president. “Their creative spirit, commitment to excellence and technical talent are tangible evidence of the ACS Vision: ‘Improving people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry.”

The Heroes of Chemistry program recognizes scientists whose innovative work in chemistry and chemical engineering led to commercial products that benefit the world. The teams were recognized in a ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 20, during the Society’s 254th National Meeting & Exposition in Washington, D.C.

Each year, Heroes of Chemistry are nominated by their respective companies to recognize their talent and creativity. Previous Heroes have excelled in innovation at prominent international corporations and have developed numerous commercial products that demonstrate strong financial performance. The commercial success of their products in the marketplace is an important criterion for this honor, because ACS recognizes that good business results follow good science.

The American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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