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Paul W. Erhardt, Ph.D.

Paul Erhardt obtained a PhD in synthetic medicinal chemistry from the University of Minnesota and did postdoctoral studies in drug metabolism at the University of Texas, Austin. His early career within the private sector began at a small pharma called American Critical Carewhere he discovered esmolol, an ultrashort-acting beta-adrenergic receptor blocking agent. Still saving lives today in emergency situations, esmolol is regarded as the prototype for a class of compounds that later became known as ‘soft drugs.’ Over the years, esmolol’s ab initio design strategy has been used repeatedly by various companies to successfully produce several additional soft drugs marketed for critical care medicine. Paul then moved into big pharma at Berlex Labs where he rose from Section Head to Assistant Director of global drug discovery and preclinical development, including protection of IP for which he became a certified US PTO Patent Agent by self-study prior to passing the bar exams. Paul’s teams generated several clinical candidates that led him to become an advocate for the consideration of ADMET properties during the early stages of drug discovery. He eventually became a leader within this movement by delivering more than 50 invited lectures and offering numerous short-courses about the importance of drug metabolism while on an international lecture circuit that spanned several years. Paul’s career continued at this juncture by his transition from industry to academia. Entering as a tenured professor, he also became Director of the University of Toledo’s Center for Drug Design and Development (UT’s CD3) nearly twenty years ahead of today’s popular trend to establish such core capabilities within an academic base. In addition to receiving several research and teaching awards from UT, Paul achieved the prestigious rank of a Distinguished University Professor. Continuing to engage in outreach, Paul also became active in the IUPAC where he served as President of the Division for Chemistry and Human Health, and subsequently received an IUPAC award for ‘Outstanding Contributions to the Advancement of Worldwide Chemistry.’ Paul has more than 125 publications, 50 US patents and 7 IND submissions. He remains especially gratified by the drugs he has helped place in the clinic, and by the many individuals who have chosen his academic labs to further their own education; namely 3 sabbatical visitors, 17 postdocs from 7 nations, 25 matriculated PhD and MS graduate students, more than 50 undergraduate students including many honors theses, and 6 high school students as part of the CD3’s ‘Lab Shadow’ program.


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