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National Medal of Technology Winners Announced

July 16, 2007 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 85, Issue 29

A TEAM OF CHEMISTS from Wyeth Pharmaceuticals is among the winners of the 2005 National Medal of Technology. The medal is the nation's highest honor for technical innovation, and it is being given to the Wyeth team for its role in the discovery, development, and manufacture of Prevnar, the first vaccine to prevent Streptococcus pneumoniae in children.

The Wyeth team consists of Ronald Eby, Velupillai Puvanesarajah, Dace Madore, and Maya Koster. In 2003, they received the ACS Heroes of Chemistry award.

"We represent many other people who have worked on this program over a 15 to 20 year process, and it's gratifying to everyone on the team," notes Madore, who is now retired from Wyeth.

"It's truly a success story," she continues. "The vaccine has been effective not only in preventing S. pneumoniae disease in the target population, infants, but has also reduced the incidence of invasive disease in unvaccinated adults." She adds that the vaccine is now being used internationally. "We're having an impact globally, which is very exciting," she says.

Two individuals and three companies also won the National Medal of Technology, which is administered by the Commerce Department. They are Alfred Y. Cho, adjunct vice president of semiconductor research at Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs; Dean L. Sicking, professor of civil engineering at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln; biotech company Genzyme Corp.; Semiconductor Research Corp.; and Xerox Corp.

"Invention and innovation are the hallmarks of our 21st-century knowledge-based economy, and I am proud to join President Bush in congratulating the 2005 National Medal of Technology Laureates," Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez said. "We honor these pioneers in their pursuit of new knowledge and its application to improve the human condition here in the United States and around the globe."

Given annually since 1985, the National Medal of Technology recognizes those who have made lasting contributions to U.S. competitiveness, standard of living, and quality of life through technological innovation.



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