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Malcolm MacCoss, Ph.D., FRSC

Dr. Malcolm MacCoss obtained his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Birmingham in the U.K. in 1971, working with Professors A.S. Jones and R.T. Walker and then carried out a post-doctoral fellowship and a research associateship at the University of Alberta in Canada from 1972-1976 working with Professor M.J. Robins. During those times he worked in the field of nucleoside and nucleic acid chemistry, including synthetic and hybridization studies on oligonucleotides that contained a non-ionic backbone, as well as developing novel synthetic methods in nucleoside chemistry. He then moved to the U.S.A. and took up an appointment at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois where he continued to work on nucleic acid chemistry and the solution structures of nucleic acid components by NMR spectroscopy. In particular, he studied the synthesis and solution conformation of a number of rigid nucleoside cyclic monophosphates. In 1980, also while at Argonne, he won the University of Chicago Medal for Distinguished Performance at Argonne National Laboratory (awarded to scientists under 40 years old) for his work on novel phospholipid-nucleoside conjugates as prodrugs for anticancer agents. During this time he also held an Adjunct Associate Professorship in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Illinois Medical Center, Chicago.

Dr. MacCoss began his pharma career at Merck as a Research Fellow in 1982 and he was promoted to Assistant Director, Exploratory Chemistry in 1986; to Director, Medicinal Chemical Research in 1991; to Senior Director and Head of Medicinal Chemical Research in 1993; to Executive Director, Medicinal Chemistry in 1995; and to Vice President Basic Chemistry-Rahway in 1999. In 2003, he became the Vice President of Basic Chemistry and Drug Discovery Sciences, and the Deputy Site-Head of the Rahway Site; he was also Chairman of the Merck World-Wide Chemistry Council. During his time as Head of the Merck Rahway Chemistry Department, the Department produced approximately 100 preclinical drug candidates. In March, 2008 Dr. MacCoss retired from Merck and spent a short time as a private consultant. In July, 2008 he was appointed Group Vice President for Chemical Research at the Schering-Plough Research Institute. In this role, he provides strategic leadership to the Chemistry Research group globally and is the Head of Chemistry at the Schering-Plough, Kenilworth, NJ site. In addition, he chairs the newly created Schering-Plough Global Chemistry Council, a forum for formulating global chemistry strategies. Dr. MacCoss also serves on the Advisory Council for the Executive Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University, and on the Advisory Board of the Rutgers University Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department.

When he was an active project leader at Merck, Dr. MacCoss led a medicinal chemistry group that synthesized the first oral Substance P antagonist, Emend™ (aprepitant), which is a Merck anti-emetic product approved by the FDA in 2003 for the treatment of chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, for which he was awarded the Thomas Edison Award in 2004, along with the other inventors. In addition, his group prepared the novel IV prodrug of Emend (Ivemend™, fosaprepitant), which was approved by the FDA in January 2008. In 2007, Dr. MacCoss was awarded a second Thomas Edison Award, for his contributions to the inventorship of Januvia™ (sitagliptin phosphate), the first approved DPP-IV inhibitor for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Januvia™ was approved in 2006 and a fixed dose combination of Januvia™ and metformin (Janumet™) was approved in 2007. Most recently, in March 2008, Dr. MacCoss was awarded the NJ American Chemical Society Award for Creativity in Molecular Design and Synthesis; he was admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) in 2008.

Dr. MacCoss has authored or co-authored 152 publications in refereed journals, he is an inventor on 93 issued U.S. patents, has authored 8 book chapters and has been an invited speaker 44 times at major symposia or at universities and industrial venues. He and his wife Sandy have 2 children, both of whom are professional scientists (Dr. Michael MacCoss is a protein mass spectroscopist and an Associate Professor of Human Genome Sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA, and Dr. Rachel MacCoss is a synthetic chemist in the pharmaceutical industry in Boston, MA).

ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry

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