Emory University’s Dennis Liotta to Receive Prestigious 2022 Perkin Medal


Dr. Dennis Liotta to be honored by the Society of Chemical Industry on September 13, 2022 

PHILADELPHIA, March 15, 2022 – The Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) America announced today that Dennis Liotta, PhD, Emory University, will be awarded the 2022 Perkin Medal at an award ceremony in Philadelphia, PA on September 13, 2022.   

Dr. Dennis Liotta will receive the Perkin Medal on September 13 in Philadelphia.

“Dr. Liotta’s work has directly impacted the lives of millions of individuals around the world living with HIV/AIDS. His discovery of emtricitabine and lamivudine was pivotal in changing the tide of the AIDS epidemic,” said John Paro, Chair and CEO of Hallstar and Chair of SCI America. “In the past 20 years he has continued to make contributions to the biopharmaceutical sector, with his research playing a role in many lifesaving therapies.”  

The Perkin Medal Selection Committee, consisting of the Chairs or Presidents of the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Science History Institute, and the Society of Chemical Industry, noted Dr. Liotta’s groundbreaking research in the biopharmaceutical space and work with antivirals, in relation to AIDS/HIV and other viruses such as Hepatitis B and SARS-CoV2. His founding of both Emory Institute for Drug Development (EIDD) and the Drug Innovation Ventures at Emory (DRIVE) has resulted in a remarkable output of research and a mentorship pipeline. The Committee also noted his many commercial accomplishments to bring drugs to market through his various companies. His most recent remarkable accomplishment is the approval of molnupiravir, a drug that was developed by EIDD/DRIVE for combating multiple viral diseases and that has recently received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in the US and UK for treating COVID-19 patients.  

Dr. Liotta will receive the medal at a dinner in his honor on September 13, 2022 at the Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philadelphia.                             

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About Dennis Liotta 

Dennis Liotta, PhD, serves as Executive Director of the Emory Institute for Drug Development and Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Emory University. Dr. Liotta is recognized as one of the premier discoverers of novel therapeutics in the United States, having been the inventor of record for several clinically important antivirals and associated with the invention of ten FDA approved therapeutics. 

Dr. Liotta’s research has focused on the discovery and development of antiviral, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory therapeutic agents. He is one of the leaders of the Emory research team that discovered the antiviral drug, Emtriva (emtricitabine), which was approved for treating HIV in July 2003 and is now used by more than 90 percent of HIV/AIDS patients in the United States, and by thousands more around the globe. Emtriva is a component of the triple combination therapy, Atripla, which is now universally accepted as the drug combination of choice for treating HIV infected patients. In addition, he is the inventor of record for several antivirals, including Epivir, Reverset, Racivir, and Elvucitabine. Other medicinal inventions generated by Liotta’s lab over the years include therapies for everything from cancer and rheumatoid arthritis to hepatitis B. 

Dr. Liotta joined Emory in 1976. Since that time, he has authored over 230 research publications and more than 70 issued US patents. Dr. Liotta has also supervised numerous postdoctoral and graduate students and has received several teaching awards, including Emory University’s Thomas Jefferson Award, the highest faculty honor given at Emory. He is a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society. Dr. Liotta was elected to the National Academy of Inventors in 2014 and the Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame in 2010. Dr. Liotta also is the co-director of the Republic of South Africa Drug Discovery Training Program and a member of the Discovery and Developmental Therapeutics Research Program at Winship. 

About the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) Perkin Medal 

The annual award is recognized as the highest honor given for outstanding work in applied chemistry in the United States. It commemorates the discovery of the first synthetic dye (the so-called Perkin mauve) by Sir William Henry Perkin in 1856. This discovery was a significant step forward in organic chemistry that led to the birth of a major segment of the chemical industry. The SCI Perkin Medal was first awarded to Sir William at a banquet held by the SCI in New York in 1906. Since then, more than 100 such awards have been given to notable scientists. 

About the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) 

SCI America, launched in 1894, is part of the Society of Chemical Industry’s international organization. It provides a unique networking forum for chemical industry leaders, industrial scientists, and technologists to exchange new business ideas and best practices. It celebrates achievement to promote public awareness of the contributions of industrial chemistry and inspires students to enter technical careers. SCI America events are managed by the Science History Institute. The Perkin Medal award dinner will be the final event of Innovation Day, a full day of research collaboration in the molecular sciences held at the Institute in Philadelphia on September 13, 2022. 

About the Science History Institute 

The Science History Institute collects and shares the stories of innovators and of discoveries that shape our lives. The Institute preserves and interprets the history of chemistry, chemical engineering, and the life sciences. Headquartered in Philadelphia, with offices in California and Europe, the Institute houses an archive and a library for historians and researchers, a fellowship program for visiting scholars from around the globe, a community of researchers who examine historical and contemporary issues, an acclaimed museum that is free and open to the public, and a state-of-the-art conference center. 

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Resa Thomason, SCI America