A Case Study of Drug Development: Therapeutic Target in the Leukotriene Pathway
Jilly F. Evans, Ph.D.
Dr. Jilly Evans is Director in the Department of Cardiovascular Diseases, Merck & Co. During her first 15 years with Merck (1983-1998), Jilly was a key biochemist in the teams that developed SingulairTM and VioxxTM. She was a co-discoverer of the 5-lipoxygenase-activing protein (FLAP) and lead biochemist on the development of the FLAP inhibitor MK-0591 that successfully completed Phase II asthma trials. From 1998-2003, she led the Merck Research Laboratoires orphan GPCR team in the identification of the motilin, urotensin, neuromedin U, neuropeptide FF and CysLT1 (target of SingulairTM) and CysLT2 receptors. For 2 years she has led a team in the preclinical development of inhibitors of FLAP for cardiovascular disease. Dr. Evans has extensive experience on preclinical development teams and in co-ordination of multi-faceted discovery projects. She has an internationally acclaimed reputation in the eicosanoid field, has been an international spokesperson for both SingulairTM and VioxxTM, and is an author on over 85 peer reviewed publications and 15 invited reviews.
Dr. Evans obtained her BS and MSc (1st class honors) degrees from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and earned her PhD in biochemistry in 1978 from the University of British Columbia, studying under Professor Michael Smith (1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry). Subsequently, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University, prior to joining Merck Forest Canada in 1983. In 2002 she was elected as an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in recognition of distinction in research and advancement of science.
This presentation will provide an overview of the leukotriene field and the successful development of the cysteinyl leukotriene 1 receptor antagonist SingulairTM, for asthma and allergic diseases. In addition, new leukotriene therapeutic targets in cardiovascular disease will be discussed. The talk will cover both the traditional route of drug development of SingulairTM and the modern development of future leukotriene modulators based on human and animal genetic discoveries.