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PDDI Drug Discovery Award and Lecture

In 2011, the Pennsylvania Drug Discovery Institute inaugurated an annual drug discovery award that is accompanied by an award lecture, followed by a reception with light refreshments.  This PDDI Drug Discovery Award will be conferred each year in November/December to an exceptional drug R&D scientist in the PA/NJ/DE tri-state area. 

The first Award Event/Lecture took place on Tuesday, 29 November 2011, at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center (PABIO) in Doylestown, PA.
  Dr. William J. Greenlee, of Merck Research Laboratories, was the first award recipient.  His lecture title: "Discovery of Drug Candidates for the Treatment of Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease"

The second annual Award Event/Lecture took place on Tuesday, 27 November 2012, at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center (PABIO) in Doylestown, PA.  Dr. John J. Baldwin, of Cleo Cosmetic and Pharmaceutical, was the award recipient.  His lecture title: "The Decline in Industrial Drug Discovery and the Rise in Mergers, Alliances and Outsourcing"

The third annual Award Event/Lecture took place on Tuesday, 3 December 2013, at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center in Doylestown, PA.  Prof. Jonathan Chernoff, Stanley P. Reimann Chair in Oncology at the Fox Chase Cancer Center, and Chief Scientific Officer/Senior Vice President of the FCCC, was the award recipientHis lecture title: "p21-Activated Kinases as Targets in Cancer Therapy".

The fourth annual Award Event/Lecture took place on Thursday, 20 November 2014, at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center in Doylestown, PA.  Award recipient:
  Dr. Daniel M. Skovronsky, Founder and CEO of Avid Pharmaceuticals.  His lecture title: "My Drug Discovery Journey – from Pennsylvania Biotech to Big Pharma".

The fifth annual Award Event/Lecture took place on Thursday, 19 November 2015, at 3700 Horizon Drive in King of Prussia, PA, at 11 AM (our second PDDI location)
.  Award recipient:  Dr. Amos B. Smith, III, Rhodes-Thompson Professor of Chemistry, University of PennsylvaniaHis lecture title: “Current Synthetic, Bioorganic and Medicinal Research in the Smith Group”.

The sixth annual Award Event/Lecture took place on Thursday, 17 November 2016, at 3700 Horizon Drive in King of Prussia, PA, at 11 AM.  Award recipient
:  Dr. Eddy Arnold, Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Rutgers University-New BrunswickHis lecture title: “Successful structure-guided design of anti-AIDS drugs with Dr. Paul Janssen and use of fragment screening to create new classes of antiviral agents targeting HIV and influenza”.

The seventh annual Award Event/Lecture took place on Monday, 20 November 2017, at 3700 Horizon Drive in King of Prussia, PA, at 11 AM
.  Award recipient: Dr. Joseph Tarnowski, Senior Vice President, Cell and Gene Therapy Platforms, GlaxoSmithKline.  His lecture title: “Delivering Cell and Gene Therapy: One Big Pharma's Approach.”

The eighth annual Award Event/Lecture took place on 15 November 2018 at the Advanced Technology Center of Montgomery County Community College.  This year's award recipient was Professor David Christianson, Chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at the University of Pennsylvania. His lecture title was: "Structural Biology and Chemistry of HIstone Deacetylases in Human Diseases and Drug Discovery."

PDDI Distinguished Scientist Award

In 2011, the PDDI  instituted an annual award to recognize a leading scientist who works at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center.  The PDDI Distinguished Scientist Award will be conferred in conjunction with the PDDI Drug Discovery Award. 

The first award recipient was Dr. Pooja Jain, Assoc. Prof., Drexel University College of Medicine (2011).

The second award recipient was Dr. Andrea Cuconati, Project Leader, Baruch S. Blumberg Institute (formerly: Institute for Hepatitis and Virus Research) (2012).

The third award recipient was Dr. Douglas Brenneman, Chief Scientific Officer at Advanced Neural Dynamics (2013).

The fourth award recipient was Dr. Richard W. Scott
, Vice President of Research, Fox Chase Chemical Diversity Center, Inc. (2014).

The fifth award recipient was Dr. Jay Wrobel, Vice President of Academic Relations, Fox Chase Chemical Diversity Center, Inc. (2017).

In 2018, we awarded our PDDI Distinguished Scientist Award to two scientists: Dr Troy E. Messick, Senior Staff Scientist at the Wistar Institute and Dr. Garry R. Smith, Director of Chemistry at the Fox Chase Chemical Diversity Center.

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PDDI Drug Discovery Award Recipients
   William J. Greenlee, Ph.D. (2011)

Dr. Greenlee earned his B.S. degree in chemistry at The Ohio State University, where he carried out research with Prof. Paul Gassman.  He conducted graduate studies on total synthesis with Prof. Robert B. Woodward at Harvard University and received his Ph.D. degree in 1976.  After a stint as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia University with Prof. Gilbert Stork, Dr. Greenlee joined Merck Research Laboratories where he was part of the Merck team that discovered potent inhibitors of angiotensin-converting enzyme, including enalapril (Vasotec®) and lisinopril (Prinivil®). Greenlee and coworkers identified several potent angiotensin AT1 receptor antagonists, including MK-996; devised the first potent dual AT1/AT2 antagonists; and discovered orally bioavailable endothelin receptor antagonists.  In 1995, Dr. Greenlee joined the Schering-Plough Research Institute (SP) as Senior Director, Cardiovascular and CNS Chemical Research.  At Schering-Plough, he directed a group of 80 chemists in the design and synthesis of potential drug candidates for treating Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity, thrombosis, and chronic pain, which led to six development candidates that entered human clinical trials.  He is now back in Merck following the Merck-SP merger.  He is an author on over 200 scientific publications and an inventor of over 70 U.S. patents.  Dr. Greenlee received the prestigious Alfred Burger Award in Medicinal Chemistry from the American Chemical Society (ACS) in 2004; he was elected to the ACS Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame in 2006 and to ACS Fellow in 2009 (inaugural class).  Dr. Greenlee has been very active for many years in serving the scientific community.  He chaired the Gordon Research Conference on Medicinal Chemistry in 1997, has served as Chair for the ACS Divisions of Medicinal Chemistry (2003) and Organic Chemistry (2004), and chaired the 42nd National Organic Symposium of the ACS Division of Organic Chemistry, which occurred at Princeton University in 2011.  He served as a Section Editor for Annual Reports in Medicinal Chemistry and is Perspectives Editor for the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

   John (Jack) J. Baldwin, Ph.D. (2012)

Dr. John J. Baldwin received a B.S. degree in chemistry in 1956 from the University of Delaware and a Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry from the University of Minnesota.  After graduation, he spent the next 50 years focused on drug discovery and new technologies for increasing the efficiency of the discovery process.  During his 30-year career at Merck Research Laboratories, Dr. Baldwin made important contributions to the discovery and development of Trusopt® and Cosopt®, for treating glaucoma, Aggrastat®, a parenteral antithrombotic agent; Crixivan®, a HIV protease inhibitor for treating AIDS; Edecrin®, a diuretic for treating hypertension and edema; and Pepcid®, a histamine H2-receptor blocker for peptic ulcer disease.  Dr. Baldwin next became a founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Pharmacopeia, Inc., where he pioneered the integration of combinatorial chemistry and high-throughput screening into the drug discovery process.  In 2001, Dr. Baldwin co-founded Vitae Pharmaceuticals, where he served as President and Chief Scientific Officer, and successfully integrated rational drug design strategies with medicinal chemistry.  By using protein-ligand complexes, via X-ray structures and molecular modeling, inhibitors of renin and 11-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase were identified and advanced into human clinical studies.  Dr. Baldwin was early to recognize the drug discovery assets available in China.  He was a founder of WuXi PharmaTech in Shanghai and served on its Board of Directors, and recently became a founder and board member for Hua Medicine, in Shanghai.  Dr. Baldwin is on several other corporate and academic boards.  He has published over 125 scientific articles, has lectured at more than 125 national and international symposiums, and is an inventor on over 240 issued U.S. patents.   In recognition for his accomplishments, he has received the prestigious E. B. Hershberg Award for Important Discoveries in Medically Active Substance from the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the Philadelphia ACS Section Award. Dr. Baldwin was inducted into the ACS Medicinal Chemistry Division (MEDI) Hall of Fame.

   Jonathan Chernoff, M.D., Ph.D. (2013)

Dr. Chernoff received M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY.  His research work has involved study of the process of neoplastic transformation, which can conceptually be divided into two components, proliferative transformation and morphologic transformation.   Proliferative transformation refers to the ability of transformed cells to bypass growth suppression signals, dividing when normal cells would not, and morphologic transformation refers to loss of normal cytoskeletal architecture, which is often accompanied by decreased adhesion and increased invasion of surrounding tissues.  These two fundamental properties have been dissected apart through the use of mutant oncogenes and abnormal signaling molecules.  He was Vice-Chair/Chair, Gordon Research Conference “Mechanisms of Cell Signaling”, is a Member of the Faculty of 1000, and was a Dozer Lecturer at Ben Gurion University.