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Dr. Joseph Vacca, Senior Vice President, Early Success Sharing Partnerships Inducted into the American Chemical Society (ACS) MEDI Hall of Fame

Dr. Joseph Vacca, Senior Vice President, Early Success Sharing Partnerships, has been inducted into the American Chemical Society ( ACS) Division of Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame .The induction ceremony will be held at the Philadelphia ACS meeting in the Pennsylvania Convention Center on August 21, 2012.

The MEDI Hall of Fame membership is a prestigious honor bestowed upon distinguished scientists who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in medical chemistry and made important contributions to ACS, the world’s largest scientific society.

Dr. Joseph Vacca earned his BS in chemistry in 1977 from St. John Fisher College, Rochester, New York, and obtained his PhD degree in Organic Chemistry under Professor Peter T. Lansbury Sr. at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

He joined Merck Research Laboratories in 1981 as a senior research chemist and has contributed to sprimary research projects including: the total synthesis of myoinositol polyphosphates; the discovery of orally bioavailable HIV-1 protease inhibitors, thrombin inhibitors, BACE inhibitors, HCV protease inhibitors and the discovery and development of HIV integrase inhibitors. His work on the HIV-1 protease project led to the discovery of Merck’s HIV protease inhibitor CRIXIVAN™ (indinavir sulfate). He led the HIV integrase discovery program and was co-chair of the early development team responsible for the development of the HIV integrase inhibitor Isentress™. He was also the leader of the HCV protease discovery program and early development team chair.

In 2007, Dr. Vacca took on the role of Head of Chemistry of the newly formed External Basic Research (EBR) site at Merck and helped to formulate Merck's external research strategy. In 2009 he was named the Basic Research Site Head of the Merck Frosst Research Institute in Montreal, Canada and helped the site's transition to support infectious diseases. After that he simultaneously held two positions within the MRL Chemistry organization as Vice President of Chemistry at the Kenilworth, New Jersey site (until Sept. 2011) and was the Global Head of Structural Chemistry until his retirement from Merck in Nov. 2011. Dr. Vacca recently joined WuXi to lead company’s Early Success Sharing Partnerships business unit which is based in the US.

Dr. Vacca has over 100 publications and patents and is the holder of many awards including a Merck Directors Award given by the Merck board of Directors (1998); PhRMA Discoverers Award (1999); Intellectual Property Owners "National Inventor of the year Award" (1997); European Inventor of the Year (2007); ACS "Award for Creative Invention" (1999); and was a named a Merck Research Laboratories Presidential Fellow in 2008.

Congratulations to Dr. Vacca and wish him more success in WuXi!

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