‘Heroes of Chemistry’ recognized for innovations in medicine

WASHINGTON, July 13, 2021 — With the global pandemic keeping a spotlight on health and science, the American Chemical Society (ACS) is honoring researchers and companies that developed products that have led to significant advancements in medicine. The winners will be inducted into the Heroes of Chemistry scientific hall of fame, which ACS has sponsored annually since 1996.

“I am honored to recognize 3M, AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Bristol Myers Squibb, Merck, Novartis and Pfizer,” says ACS President H. N. Cheng, Ph.D. “Their risk-taking and commitment to excellence have led to breakthrough solutions at the interface of chemistry and medicine, demonstrating the far-reaching benefits of this kind of innovative work. These Heroes exemplify the ACS vision of improving all people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry.”

Scientific teams in industry are being honored for the following achievements:

3M: Tegaderm™ CHG Chlorohexidine Gluconate I.V. Securement Dressing is used globally by clinicians and is clinically proven to reduce catheter-related bloodstream infections (CRBSI). These dressings integrate the powerful effectiveness of the CHG antimicrobial with a Tegaderm transparent dressing to support clinical best practices and protocols.

AbbVie: VENCLEXTA®/VENCLYXTO® (venetoclax) is a first-in-class medicine that selectively binds/inhibits the B-cell lymphoma-2 (BCL-2) protein, and is approved for certain blood cancer treatments. Discovered by AbbVie scientists, it is being developed by AbbVie and Roche and jointly commercialized by Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, in the U.S. and by AbbVie outside of the U.S.

AstraZeneca/Bristol Myers Squibb: Farxiga (dapagliflozin) is a C-aryl glucoside SGLT2 inhibitor that reduces hyperglycemia, sodium reabsorption, body weight and blood pressure, while increasing hematocrit and providing cardiac and renal benefits. The invention of this new class of SGLT2 inhibitors led to a shift in therapeutic strategy in type-2 diabetes, heart failure with reduced ejection fraction and chronic kidney disease.

Merck: KEYTRUDA, a humanized monoclonal antibody that targets PD-1 for the treatment of cancer. KEYTRUDA’s aggressive development timeline and high clinical demand required creativity, strong fundamental science and engineering, innovative new approaches and understanding of the structure-activity relationship to enable development of a robust purification and formulation process. 

Novartis: ENTRESTO® (sacubitril/valsartan) is an angiotensin receptor neprilysin inhibitor (ARNI) delivering concomitant neprilysin inhibition and blockage of the angiotensin II type-1 receptor, approved to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death and heart failure (HF) hospitalization in adults with chronic HF.

Pfizer: LORBRENA is a third-generation ALK inhibitor specifically designed by Pfizer scientists to inhibit the most common tumor mutations that drive resistance to current medications and to address metastases in the brain. It was first approved in 2018 for people with previously treated ALK-positive NSCLC, and in 2021 received an expanded approval for those newly diagnosed with the disease.

Special thanks to the ACS Board Committee on Corporation Associates, who evaluated the applications and selected the winners.

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