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Juerg Zimmermann, PhD

Juerg Zimmermann started his professional career with an apprenticeship at Ciba-Geigy. In 1981 he received his BSc in chemistry from the Chemical Engineering School Burgdorf. He then moved to ETH Zürich where he received his Ph.D. in Synthetic Organic Chemistry (1988) under the direction of Prof. Dr. D. Seebach. Juerg complemented his academic education by 2 postdoctoral studies with Prof. Dr.  A. Beckwith (Australia) and Prof. Dr. R. Lown (Canada). Research topics included computational studies of radicals and ligand-DNA interactions.

In 1991, Juerg joined the Ciba-Geigy Oncology Research team as a medicinal chemist. Pioneering the kinase drug discovery efforts, Juerg synthesized the compound that would ultimately become Gleevec. Recognizing the importance of lead finding chemistry, Juerg established modern combinatorial chemistry and the Synthesis and Chemogenetics group at Novartis. In 2007 he was promoted to the Head of Oncology & Exploratory Chemistry and in 2010 to the Global Head of Discovery Chemistry. Currently Juerg is the Global Head of Chemistry for Infectious Diseases & Discovery Technology with teams in Basel (CH), Cambridge (US) and Emeryville (US).

For his invention of Gleevec and his scientific contributions to drug discovery, Juerg received the Swiss Chemical Society Sandmeyer Prize, the New York Intellectual Law Association Inventor of the Year Award, the American Association for Cancer Research Bruce Cain Memorial Award, the European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry UCB Award for Excellence in Medicinal Chemistry all in 2002, the Society for Medicines Research (UK) SMR Drug Discovery Award and the Novartis Corporate, Distinguished Scientist Award in 2003, the Pharmaceutical Research and PhRMA Discoverers Award Manufacturers of America in 2004, the Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award from the Research and Development Council of New Jersey and the Heroes of Chemistry Award of the American Chemical Society in 2005, European Inventor of the Year Award in 2009. Juerg nominated for the GIST Hall of Fame by the Life Raft Group in 2010 and was given the Distinguished Industrial Investigator Award by the Swiss Chemical Society in 2015.

In his scientific career, Juerg has published 65 papers, >50 patents and provided >60 presentations and lectures at conferences and universities.

ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry

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