SCI CEO meets U.S. award winners for COVID and HIV drug development and therapy innovation

12 September 2022


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Awards include the Perkin Medal – the highest United States industrial chemistry accolade

Sharon Todd, CEO of SCI (Society of Chemical Industry) will travel to Philadelphia this week to meet with leading figures from the chemistry using industries in the United States. These will include Dr Dennis Liotta from Emory University who is due to receive the prestigious 2022 Perkin Medal at an award ceremony on 13th September. The Perkin Medal Selection Committee praised Dr Liotta’s groundbreaking research with antivirals in relation to AIDS/HIV and other viruses such as Hepatitis B and SARS-CoV2. His work has also led to the approval of molnupiravir, a drug that has received authorization in the U.S. and the UK for treating Covid-19 patients.

The Perkin Medal Selection Committee consists of the Chairs or Presidents of the Society of Chemical Industry, the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the Science History Institute.

Sharon will also be attending Innovation Day on 13th September at Philadelphia’s Science History Institute. The event is hosted jointly by SCI and the Science History Institute. First held in 2004, this two day event enables member companies to send groups of their most promising young researchers to debate topics at the leading edge of chemical research. During Innovation Day, Kevin M. Maloney, PhD, of Merck will receive the 19TH annual Gordon E. Moore Medal which recognizes early career success in innovation. Dr. Maloney is known for leading three key innovative new technologies while at Merck, including using chemocatalysis in the production of ceftolozane synthesis, making the process more efficient in terms of waste and production time. His innovations have led to more sustainable pharmaceutical manufacturing processes.

John J Paro, Chair, SCI America said:

"SCI America is proud to honor two scientists whose work directly impacts the quality of life for millions around the globe,” Said John Paro, Chair and CEO of Hallstar and Chair of SCI America. “Dr. Maloney’s research at Merck has already made important impacts on human health and his research has laid the groundwork for a more sustainable and efficient future for pharmaceutical chemistry. Dr. Liotta’s discovery of emtricitabine and lamivudine was pivotal in changing the tide of the AIDS epidemic. In the past 20 years he has continued to make contributions to the biopharmaceutical sector, with his research playing a role in many lifesaving therapies.”


Notes to editors:

About Dennis Liotta

Dennis Liotta, PhD, serves as Executive Director of the Emory Institute for Drug Development and Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Emory University. Dr. Liotta is recognized as one of the premier discoverers of novel therapeutics in the United States, having been the inventor of record for several clinically important antivirals and associated with the invention of ten FDA approved therapeutics. Dr. Liotta's research has focused on the discovery and development of antiviral, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory therapeutic agents. He is one of the leaders of the Emory research team that discovered the antiviral drug, Emtriva (emtricitabine), which was approved for treating HIV in July 2003 and is now used by more than 90 percent of HIV/AIDS patients in the United States, and by thousands more around the globe. Emtriva is a component of the triple combination therapy, Atripla, which is now universally accepted as the drug combination of choice for treating HIV infected patients. In addition, he is the inventor of record for several antivirals, including Epivir, Reverset, Racivir, and Elvucitabine. Other medicinal inventions generated by Liotta's lab over the years include therapies for everything from cancer and rheumatoid arthritis to hepatitis B.

Dr. Liotta joined Emory in 1976. Since that time, he has authored over 230 research publications and more than 70 issued US patents. Dr. Liotta has also supervised numerous postdoctoral and graduate students and has received several teaching awards, including Emory University’s Thomas Jefferson Award, the highest faculty honor given at Emory. He is a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society. Dr. Liotta was elected to the National Academy of Inventors in 2014 and the Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame in 2010. Dr. Liotta also is the co-director of the Republic of South Africa Drug Discovery Training Program and a member of the Discovery and Developmental Therapeutics Research Program at Winship.

About the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) Perkin Medal

The annual award is recognized as the highest honor given for outstanding work in applied chemistry in the United States. It commemorates the discovery of the first synthetic dye (the so-called Perkin mauve) by Sir William Henry Perkin in 1856. This discovery was a significant step forward in organic chemistry that led to the birth of a major segment of the chemical industry. The SCI Perkin Medal was first awarded to Sir William at a banquet held by the SCI in New York in 1906. Since then, more than 100 such awards have been given to notable scientists.

About the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI)

SCI America, launched in 1894, is part of the Society of Chemical Industry’s international organization. It provides a unique networking forum for chemical industry leaders, industrial scientists, and technologists to exchange new business ideas and best practices. It celebrates achievement to promote public awareness of the contributions of industrial chemistry and inspires students to enter technical careers. SCI America events are managed by the Science History Institute. The Perkin Medal award dinner will be the final event of Innovation Day, a full day of research collaboration in the molecular sciences held at the Institute in Philadelphia on September 13, 2022.

About the Science History Institute

The Science History Institute collects and shares the stories of innovators and of discoveries that shape our lives, focusing on the history of chemistry, chemical engineering, and the life sciences. The Institute houses an archive and a library for historians and researchers; a fellowship program for visiting scholars from around the globe; a community of researchers who examine historical and contemporary issues; an award-winning digital content platform that includes videos, articles, and a podcast; an acclaimed museum that is free and open to the public; and a state-of-the-art conference center. For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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