Cynthia A. Maryanoff to Receive Prestigious Perkin Medal

09 August 2016

Throughout a long and successful career as an industrial process chemist, Dr. Maryanoff has consistently demonstrated scientific excellence in taking products from the laboratory to commercial manufacture.  Her focus on early process research emphasized a green-chemistry approach.  She has influenced or directed the development of nearly 1000 drug candidates in the fields of antipsychotic and antiepileptic treatments, strong analgesics with transdermal delivery, pulmonary surfactants, cardiovascular disease, endocrine function, and antiviral agents.  Some of the more notable are:

  • TOPAMAX – an anti-epileptic drug whose aggregate sales have surpassed $10 billion.
  • ULTRAM – an atypical analgesic, known better as tramadol, with over a billion dollars in sales used to treat moderate to severely moderate pain.
  • CYPHER – a drug-eluting stent (actually a medical device) whose product line has reached total sales of over $ 10 billion.

Although process development and scale-up are ordinarily considered engineering, in complex drug synthesis, basic chemistry is critical.  Maryanoff was the bridge between the lab and commercial operation.  She had an incredible track record of developing numerous commercial drug processes and never having a commercial manufacturing failure.

After receiving a B.S. in chemistry from Drexel University and a PhD in chemistry from Princeton, Maryanoff joined Smith, Kline & French Laboratories.  She then went to McNeil Pharmaceutical, a Johnson & Johnson company.  After a series of positions with increasing responsibilities, she was named a distinguished research fellow and in 2000 was named head of the ChemPharm Department  with responsibility for 150 employees in the US, Belgium, and Switzerland.  In 2013, she retired from J&J and continues her scientific career at the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute as a foundation distinguished professor.  Maryanoff has 67 US/European patents issued or pending and has published more than 100 scientific papers.

Dr. Maryanoff has been recognized with many corporate, local and national awards.  She received the Drexel University Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award in 1999, the ACS Garvin-Olin Medal in 1999, the ACS Earle B. Barnes Award for Leadership in Chemical Research Management in 2005, the ACS Henry F. Whalen award for Business Development in 2007, and American Women in Science, Elizabeth Bingham Award in 2010.  She was named a fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1991 and a fellow of the American Chemical Society in 2009.

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