A Future Outlook for the Chemistry Enterprise:
A Pharmaceutical Industry Perspective
Magid Abou-Gharbia, Ph.D.
As Senior Vice President & Head of Chemical & Screening Sciences at Wyeth, he oversees research efforts at Collegeville, PA; Princeton, NJ; Pearl River, NY and Cambridge, MA. Under his leadership, Wyeth Medicinal Chemistry discovered three marketed drugs and many compounds currently under clinical evaluation including: first-in-class Antidepressant Effexor̉; Anticancer Agent MylotargÔ; a Sedative Hypnotic Sonatả; a broad spectrum Antibiotic Tygacil, a non-steroidal HRT Bazedoxifene, and an anticancer rapamycin derivative, Temsirolimus.
His scientific contributions include over 150 invited lectures, presentations and publications; inventor on 95 US-issued patents and over 300 patents worldwide. Awards include The New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame Award (2004); The Procter Medal (2003); ACS Earle B. Barnes Award (2001); Philadelphia Organic Chemists Club (POCC) Award (2001); Egyptian Pharmaceutical Society Drug Discovery Award (2000); ACS-Philadelphia Section Award (1997); Wyeth-Ayerst Exceptional Achievement Award (1992); and others.
Dr. Abou-Gharbia is on the Editorial and Scientific Advisory Boards of many journals, and holds several academic appointments: adjunct Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at Temple University, Cairo University and the University of Ferrara, IT.
Dr. Abou-Gharbia received his BS in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1971; MS in Organic Chemistry in 1974 from Cairo University; Ph.D. in 1979 from the University of Pennsylvania; two-year NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship at Temple University. He joined Wyeth Drug Discovery and Development in 1982.
The Pharmaceutical Industry is currently facing major challenges: greater complexity in producing NCEs (New Chemical Entities), intensified regulatory requirements, more patent expiration of top products, propagation of generic competition, increased cost of technology, drop in share value, and diminished confidence from both the public sector and Wall Street. These challenges and the pressure to reduce cycle time without compromising innovation result in substantially increased cost of Drug Discovery and Development. Many of these challenges are addressed through resourcefulness, process refinement and optimization, and enabling technologies including combinatorial chemistry, HTS, and structure-based design. To implement these and other technologies, there is a staggering requirement for more chemists, and not diminished need for capacity as originally perceived. Outsourcing, collaborations, and alliance partnerships can present a company with added flexibility and the chance to “stretch” the value of research dollars. The speaker will highlight these issues and provide his own assessment of the future outlook for chemistry in the pharmaceutical industry.