Newly inducted into the MEDI Hall of Fame this year, alumna Ann Weber ’82, graduated summa cum laude from Notre Dame with a B.S. in chemistry and earned a Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry from Harvard University. She is currently Senior Vice President – Drug Discovery at Kallyope Inc., a New York City-based biotechnology company focused on harnessing the potential of the gut-brain axis. She retired in November 2015 from Merck & Co., where she was most recently vice president of lead optimization chemistry at Merck Research Laboratories (MRL). In this role, she was responsible for the discovery of innovative therapeutic agents across disease areas. She began at MRL as a senior research chemist in 1987. She joins Professor Emeritus Marvin Miller on this year’s list of inductees.
Weber’s work has led to over 40 development candidates, including JANUVIA® (sitagliptin), a treatment for patients with Type 2 diabetes (T2DM), JANUMET®, a combination of sitagliptin and metformin, and MARIZEV® (omarigliptin), a once-weekly treatment for T2DM that was approved in Japan in September 2015. One additional drug candidate, vibegron for the treatment of overactive bladder, is in late stage clinical trials. Weber is the author or co-author of over 80 publications and co-inventor on over 35 issued US patents. Her awards include the Robert M. Scarborough Award for Excellence in Medicinal Chemistry (ACS), the Heroes of Chemistry Award (ACS), the Discoverer's Award (PhRMA), recognizing scientists whose work has been of special benefit to humankind, and a Directors’ Award, the highest honor that Merck confers on its employees. She is a 2013 Liberty Science Center Women in STEM Honoree and the recipient of the 2015 Gift of Mentoring Award from the Metro Women Chemists Committee. Weber was named among the 2008 Outstanding Women in Science by the New Jersey Association for Biomedical Research. Her leadership of scientific teams has led to a better quality of life for many people.
Weber joins alumnus John Macor ’82 who was inducted into the MEDI Hall of Fame in August 2014, the first inductee from Notre Dame. He earned his B.S. degree summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame and completed his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Princeton University in 1986. Macor’s career has spanned four decades and three different pharmaceutical companies (Pfizer, Astra Arcus, and Bristol-Myers Squibb) with significant contributions in each of them. At present he is the inventor or co-inventor of one marketed drug (Relpax®) and a number of other compounds presently in clinical trials.
Macor has authored/co-authored over 155 peer-reviewed publications, is an inventor on more than 100 granted US patents, given more than 90 invited lectures, and has over 430 publications. Macor was awarded the 2009 Scarborough Award in Medicinal Chemistry for medicinal chemistry accomplishments under the age of 50, and was made an American Society Fellow in 2011. He served as Chair of the Medicinal Chemistry Division (MEDI) of the American Chemical Society in 2015, and he is presently the 2016 MEDI Past Chair. Macor was awarded the 2014 Alfred Burger Award in Medicinal Chemistry (a National Award from the American Chemical Society) “to recognize outstanding contributions to research in medicinal chemistry.”
With 9,600 members, MEDI is the Medicinal Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The Division provides comprehensive programming at the twice annual National ACS meetings, as well as at the biennial National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium.