Winners of the Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity

2021 Winner: Professor Richard B. Silverman

Elsevier and the Board of Executive Editors of Elsevier’s Tetrahedron journal series announce that the 2021 Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry has been awarded to Professor Richard B. Silverman, Patrick G. Ryan/Aon Professor, Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University, USA.

Professor  Richard B. Silverman
“I was totally surprised when I was informed that I had been selected for the 2021 Tetrahedron Prize. I have revered the past winners of this award throughout my education and professional life, and to have my name mentioned in the same sentence as many of them is an immense honour. My heartfelt thanks and admiration go to the many dedicated and brilliant students, postdocs, and collaborators, that I have had over the years that this prize now recognizes.”

About Professor Silverman

Richard B. Silverman received his B.S. degree in chemistry from The Pennsylvania State University (March 1968, Magna cum laude and Honors in Chemistry) and Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Harvard University (1974), advised by David Dolphin. After a semester at Harvard, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served from 1969-1971 at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (after basic training). Upon graduation from Harvard, he spent two years as a NIH postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Robert Abeles in the Graduate Department of Biochemistry at Brandeis University. In 1976 he started his independent research as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University, where he currently is the inaugural Patrick G. Ryan/Aon Professor. He also holds appointments in the Department of Molecular Biosciences and the Department of Pharmacology (Feinberg School of Medicine).

Professor Silverman has focused his research primarily in the design, synthesis, evaluation, and mechanism of enzyme inhibitors. He is the inventor of the molecule that became the blockbuster drug Lyrica®, marketed worldwide by Pfizer for the treatment of fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia, neuropathic pain associated with spinal cord injury, epilepsy, and, in Europe, generalized anxiety disorder. He also is the inventor of CPP-115, which successfully completed a Phase I clinical trial and is currently being taken, under a compassionate use IND, by a child with infantile spasms. Another of his inventions is called OV329, which is undergoing IND-enabling studies for convulsive disorders. Most recently, his invention of NU-9, which maintains the health of upper motor neurons, is undergoing IND-enabling studies for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and preclinical studies for other neurodegenerative diseases.

Other current medicinal chemistry research in his group includes inactivators of ornithine aminotransferase, in preclinical efficacy and toxicological studies for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma; selective inhibitors of neuronal nitric oxide synthase in preclinical studies for cerebral palsy and other neurodegenerative diseases as well as for melanoma; inhibitors of bacterial nitric oxide synthase being tested as a combination treatment with antibiotics resistant to bacterial infections.

Professor Silverman is the author, or co-author, of 385 scientific publications, the author of five books (he co-authored the 3rd edition of The Organic Chemistry of Drug Design and Drug Action), and the inventor on 128 issued patents (92 U.S. patents).

About the Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity

The Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Chemistry was established in 1980 by the Executive Board of Editors and the Publisher of Tetrahedron Publications. It is intended to honour the memory of the founding co-Chairmen of these publications, Professor Sir Robert Robinson and Professor Robert Burns Woodward.

The Tetrahedron Prize is awarded on an annual basis for creativity in Organic Chemistry or Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry. The prize consists of a gold medal, a certificate, and a monetary award of US $15,000. It is awarded to a chemist who has made significant original contributions to the field, in its broadest sense.