A catalysis team from Merck Research Laboratories, in Rahway, N.J., has won the 2012 Excellence in Catalysis Award, presented by the Catalysis Society of Metropolitan New York. Team members Spencer Dreher, Gregory Hughes, Shane Krska, Jeffrey Moore, Wes Schafer, Matthew Truppo, and Matthew Tudge were honored during an award ceremony in May.
The award recognizes the team’s innovative application of high-throughput experimentation to explore chemo- and biocatalytic routes to the synthesis of small molecules of pharmaceutical interest. The award also recognizes the team’s success in using this innovative approach to achieve a better understanding of catalytic reactions, including catalytic asymmetric hydrogenation; palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling; and enzymatic hydrolysis, ketone reduction, and oxidation reactions. The approach led to the development of a substantially improved enzymatic transaminase-based process for manufacturing the drug sitagliptin.