Wilmington chemist wins national award for drug development

Chemist Paul S. Anderson of Lansdale, Pa., will be honored April 3 by the world's largest scientific society for directing the development of such drugs as Zocor for high cholesterol, Trusopt for glaucoma, and Crixivan and Sustiva for HIV. He will receive the 2001 Award in Industrial Chemistry from the American Chemical Society at its 221st national meeting in San Diego.

In a career that has involved shepherding Merck and DuPont pharmaceuticals from laboratory to market, Anderson concludes it's "a strong sense of community values" that makes the difference in drug discovery.

"That's what makes teams of researchers thrive," explained Anderson, the senior vice president of chemical and physical sciences at DuPont Pharmaceuticals Co. "You know somewhere in that sea of possibilities there is an answer. It comes when different people make little discoveries, share information, and work together to add it all up."

The discoveries of Crixivan and Sustiva, drugs that attack human immunodeficiency virus, each required the teamwork of over 100 experts, Anderson said from his Wilmington, Del., office.

"Both discovery processes were incredibly frustrating. Some molecules we made weren't soluble enough, others not potent enough, broke down too rapidly or couldn't get blood levels high enough to really attack HIV," he said.

Each project team tried and discarded about 1,000 drug candidates before Crixivan, a protease inhibitor, and Sustiva, a reverse transcriptase inhibitor, made it to market in 1996 and 1998, respectively.

Himself a medicinal chemist, Anderson said the project groups he directs are now developing the second generation of AIDS-fighting drugs. One is in Phase I and another in Phase II clinical trials.

Anderson said it was his father, a school superintendent, who sparked his career interest: "I remember we used to do kitchen-sink experiments at home while I was still in grade school," he said. "It got me really comfort

Contact: Rodney Pearson
American Chemical Society

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