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Chem Major John McCauley '91 to Receive 12th Annual SCI Gordon E. Moore Medal

John A McCauley PhD

Dr John A McCauley PhD
Director, Medicinal Chemistry at Merck Research Labs

The  Society of Chemical Industry (SCI), America Section, will award the 12th annual SCI Gordon E. Moore Medal to Dr. John A. McCauley of Merck & Co. on October 6, 2015 at CHF headquarters in Philadelphia.  The SCI established the Gordon E. Moore Medal to recognize early-career success in innovation, as reflected both in market impact and improvement to quality of life. 

Using a molecular modeling approach, Dr. McCauley directed the design and synthesis of a novel class of protease inhibitors, offering a significant step forward in the treatment of the hepatitis C virus (HCV). His work led to a highly efficient and reliable synthesis sequence, with a ring-closing metathesis as the key step, which allowed investigation of this new series and resulted in the generation of potent analogs with good activity against resistant viruses. The efforts culminated in the discovery of VanihepR, an HCV protease inhibitor marketed in Japan, and grazoprevir, a next-generation HCV protease inhibitor currently in Phase III development.

After graduting with honors from Swarthmore, John received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996, where he completed the total synthesis of rapamycin in the research group of Professor Amos B. Smith, III. Following graduate studies, John worked with Professor Yoshito Kishi at Harvard University as an NIH postdoctoral fellow and he joined Merck in 1998 as a senior research chemist. He is currently a director of medicinal chemistry.  Over the past 17 years, Dr. McCauley and his group have been involved in the design and synthesis of nine compounds entering clinical development, including HCV NS3/4a protease inhibitors and additional compounds from antiviral and neuroscience programs. Dr. McCauley has co-authored 37 publications and is an inventor on 23 issued patents and 17 pending patent applications. In addition, he is a frequent guest lecturer who has given 18 invited presentations at national meetings and academic venues.

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