Home | About Us | Site Map | Contact Us Search
Impact of Innovation Future of Innovation Stories of Innovation Inside Drug Discovery News Center Tools & Resources
Stories of Innovation
New Medicines in Development
Personalized Medicine in Action
Partnership for Prescription Assistance
Sign Up for
our Newsletter:

Get our newsletter on the impact of new medicines and updates on what's new in innovation.

Innovator Stories

Behind every new medicine is a story of researchers who wouldn’t give up. Their stories of discovery combine cutting edge science, curiosity, plain hard work and, sometimes, luck. Research scientists devote their careers to finding the needle in the haystack. A few succeed. But even those researchers who don’t, lay the foundation for future breakthroughs.

Read these innovator stories to learn how biopharmaceutical researchers beat the odds and discovered new medicines that changed the lives of millions of people around the world.


Advancing Vaccines Research

Learn about the scientific advances made by researchers in the academic/public research arena, patient and community health centers, and the biopharmaceutical industry to develop not only new preventative vaccines to help eradicate disease, but also therapeutic vaccines for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and many types of cancers and autoimmune disorders.


Advancing Alzheimer's Research 

Learn about stories of innovation that illustrate the challenges, sacrifices, and successes experienced by the thousands of scientists, advocates, and volunteers working every day to support research and find breakthrough treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.





The Story of Januvia®

Nancy A. Thornberry

Ann E. Weber, Ph.D.

Two Merck research scientists, Nancy A. Thornberry and Ann E. Weber, Ph.D. received the 2011 Discoverers Award, the highest honor from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), for their leadership in the discovery of JANUVIA® (sitagliptin), a once-daily pill that helps patients with type 2 diabetes control glucose in conjunction with diet and exercise... (read more)




The Story of Selzentry®

Manos Perros, Ph.D.

Anthony Wood, Ph.D.

Elna van der Ryst, Ph.D.


When SELZENTRY® (maraviroc) was approved it was the first oral HIV drug in a new class in over a decade. Doctors were finding more and more patients who had run out of options either because the virus had become resistant to existing medications or because the patients could not tolerate existing drugs. For these patients running out of options, SELZENTRY offers new hope... (read more)


The Story of Gardasil®

Eliav Barr, Ph.D.
Barry Buckland, Ph.D.
Kathrin Jansen, Ph.D.

The discovery of Gardasil®, just the second prophylactic cancer vaccine ever and the very first vaccine against cervical cancer, was a major breakthrough—in the estimation of many “the top medical advance for 2006. The idea that cancer could not only be caused by a virus, but also be prevented with a vaccine, was once thought novel, controversial and, in some quarters, maybe even ridiculous. Since June 2006, however, over 36 million doses have been distributed globally... (read more)

The Story of Coreg®
Eliot Ohlstein, Ph.D.
Tian-Li Yue, Ph.D.
Robert Ruffolo, Ph.D.

This pioneering treatment for patients with mild to severe heart failure was found to be so efficacious that independent monitors twice recommended that all trial subjects who had been receiving placebo in addition to then-conventional therapy be offered Coreg® instead... (read more

The Story of Zyvox®
Steven J. Brickner, Ph.D.
Douglas K. Hutchinson, Ph.D.
Michael R. Barbachyn, Ph.D.
In the late 1990s the increasing virulence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and the emergence of vancomycin-resistant strains had the public and medical community worried. For millions of people around the world, and their doctors, the discovery of the antibiotic Zyvox® (linezolid) came not a minute too soon… (read more
The Story of Zetia® Video
Harry R. Davis, Jr., Ph.D.
Margaret van Heek, Ph.D.
Kevin B. Alton
The discovery of Zetia® happened almost by chance. Researchers studying the same compound, but for different purposes in showing its effect on cholesterol, did not get the results they expected. Together, what they did discover was another drug that was 400 times more potent… (read more
The Story of Prevnar® Video
Ronald J. Eby, Ph.D.
Dace V. Madore, Ph.D.
Velupillai Puvanesarajah, Ph.D.

Fifteen years in the making, and millions of doses of Prevnar® later, the combined efforts of the three scientists and their teams have led to a great advance in child health.... (read more)


The Story of Gleevec®
Elisabeth Buchdunger, Ph.D.
Juerg Zimmerman, Ph.D.
The story of Gleevec® began over four decades ago, in 1960 when scientists at the University of Pennsylvania noticed chromosomal abnormalities in the blood of CML patients. It wasn't until the 1980s with the advent of genetic mapping that University of Chicago scientists determined that the chromosomal abnormality produces a cancer-causing kinase enzyme... (read more)
Discoverers Awards Each year, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America present the Discoverers Award to scientists whose research and development of new medicines have greatly benefited humankind, and whose dedication and interest in improving the quality of life exemplify the best in the research industry... (read more)

back to top