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John E. Macor, Ph.D.

Dr. John Macor earned his B.S. degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1982 doing undergraduate research with Professor Marvin Miller (a 2016 inductee of the MEDI HOF) and earned his Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry at Princeton University with Professor E. C. Taylor (a 2011 inductee of the MEDI HOF) in 1986. Dr. Macor’s career has spanned four different decades and four different pharmaceutical companies with significant contributions in each of them.  He began his career at Pfizer (Groton, CT) in 1986 where he was engaged in a variety of CNS drug discovery efforts, moved to Astra Arcus (Rochester, NY) in 1994 focusing on cholinergic drug discovery, and then moved to Bristol-Myers Squibb in 1997 (Princeton, NJ), starting in cardiovascular and moving to neuroscience in 2001 and immunosciences in 2013.  He assumed the role as Executive Director of Neuroscience Discovery Chemistry in 2002 (Wallingford, CT), and he was appointed Executive Director of Immunosciences Discovery Chemistry in 2013 (Lawrenceville, NJ).  In October 2016, he accepted the role as Global Head of Integrated Drug Discovery for Sanofi with groups in Paris, Frankfurt and Waltham, MA.

Dr. Macor is a co-inventor of Relpax® (eletriptan) and Nurtec® (rimegepant), two anti-migraine agents of different mechanisms.  During his time at Pfizer, he also discovered CP-93,129, a literature standard 5-HT1B/1D receptor selective agonist, and (in addition to eletriptan) he invented CP-122,288, a 5-HT1B/1D agonist that help to confirm the vascular mechanism-of-action of the triptans.  While at Astra, he was co-inventor of AZD0328, the first brain-penetrant, selective, full agonist for the α7 neuronal nicotinic receptors, which advanced to Phase 2 trials for schizophrenia. At Bristol-Myers Squibb he led teams and was a co-inventor that discovered BMS-346567 (sparsentan, a dual AT1/ETA receptor antagonist presently in Phase 3 clinical trials for focal segmental glomerulosclerosis [FSGS], a rare kidney disease), BMS-708163 (avagecestat, a gamma-secretase inhibitor for Alzheimer’s Disease that demonstrated beta-amyloid lowering in the cerebral spinal fluid of normal healthy volunteers in a Phase 1 clinical study), and BMS-927711 (rimegepant) now marketed by Biohaven as Nurtec®, a potent CGRP receptor antagonist for the treatment of migraine.  Dr. Macor and his teams have moved more than a dozen compounds deep into clinical trials, including LX9211 (AAK1 inhibitor, neuropathic pain, presently in Ph 1b by Lexicon) and vizegepant (CGRP antagonist, migraine, presently in Phase 3 by Biohaven).  .

Dr. Macor has authored/co-authored over 195 peer-reviewed publications, is an inventor on more than 120 granted US patents, given more than 100 invited lectures, and has over 500 publications, issued US patents, invited lectures and external meeting presentations.  His contributions in the syntheses of heterocyclic compounds, intramolecular 1,2,4-triazine Diels-Alder reactions, indole chemistry, and conformation restriction using heterocycles as bioisosteres in medicinal chemistry are widely cited in the literature.  He has participated in and led teams in cardiovascular, metabolic, neuroscience, oncology and inflammation projects, indicative of broad expertise, creativity and impact in medicinal chemistry and drug discovery. Dr. Macor chaired the 2002 Gordon Research Conference on Medicinal Chemistry and the 2006 Gordon Research Conference on Heterocyclic Compounds.  Dr. Macor served as Editor-in-Chief of Annual Reports in Medicinal Chemistry for Volumes 42 – 46 (2006 – 2011).  Dr. 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.  Dr. Macor served as Chair of the Medicinal Chemistry Division (MEDI) of the American Chemical Society in 2015 and served a total of ten years on the Executive Committee of MEDI in various roles.  Dr. 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,” and was inducted into the Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame in August 2014. He was designated as the 2019 Smissman awardee from the MEDI Division of the ACS “given to a living scientist whose research, teaching or service has had a substantial impact on the intellectual and theoretical development of the field of Medicinal Chemistry.” In 2020, he was awarded the IUPAC-Richter Prize in medicinal chemistry “in recognition of his outstanding creative contributions in the field of medicinal chemistry research on drugs for the treatment of migraine.”

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