Ann E. Weber, senior vice president for drug discovery at N.Y.-based biotech company Kallyope, is being awarded the 2017 Perkin Medal by the Society of Chemical Industry, America Group, for her outstanding work in applied chemistry.
Specifically, Weber is being recognized for her work leading to the development of the drugs Januvia (sitagliptin) and Janumet (sitagliptin plus metformin) for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. Weber conducted the work at Merck where she was vice president of lead optimization chemistry until she retired in 2015.
“To be included among the list of past awardees who have had such an impact on life as we know it through chemistry is an unbelievable honor,” Weber says. “This award recognizes not just me, but really the hundreds of Merck employees who worked tirelessly to bring Januvia to patients.”
In addition to Januvia and Janumet, Weber was also involved in the development of Marizev (omarigliptin), a once-weekly treatment for Type 2 diabetes that was approved in Japan in September 2015. An additional drug candidate, vibegron for the treatment of overactive bladder, is in late stage clinical trials. In all, Weber’s work has led to more than 40 drug candidates.
“Drug discovery is a team sport,” Weber says. “It’s a collaborative endeavor that requires deep subject matter expertise across a wide range of disciplines, passionate and committed team members, and tremendous resources and support from management to bring a therapy to patients.”
Weber has a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Notre Dame, and a Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry from Harvard University.
Now at Kallyope, Weber is focusing on the company’s efforts to pioneer a new approach to the identification of therapeutic opportunities involving the gut-brain axis.
She will receive the medal at a dinner in her honor on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, at the Hilton Penn’s Landing Hotel in Philadelphia. “Knowing that something I worked on is helping millions of patients around the world control their disease, that’s incredible,” she says.