Michael J. Sofia, Ph.D. is Awarded the 2016 IUPAC-Richter Prize

Michael Sofia Awarded the 2016 IUPAC-Richter Prize
Dr. Michael J. Sofia

The 2016 IUPAC-Richter Prize in Medicinal Chemistry has been awarded to Dr. Michael J. Sofia. Dr. Michael J. Sofia received this award in recognition of his outstanding creative contributions to the invention, discovery and development of the novel antiviral drug sofosbuvir (Sovaldi™) as a treatment for the cure of hepatitis C virus infection.  Approved in 2013, this new drug and its combinations provide high cure rates in people infected.

The IUPAC-Richter Prize, comprising a plaque and a check for USD 10,000, will be presented at the XXIV European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry International Symposium in Manchester, UK on 28 August 2016. The plaque will be signed by Professor Natalia Tarasova, President of IUPAC, Erik Bogsch, Chief Executive Officer of Gedeon Richter plc (Budapest, Hungary), and János Fischer, Chair of the IUPAC-Richter Prize selection committee. Michael J. Sofia will present a lecture at this Symposium and also at the American Chemical Society 34th National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium in Chicago, IL (26-29 June 2016).

Michael J. Sofia studied chemistry at the Cornell University and received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Illinois with Professor John Katzenellenbogen. He was an NIH postdoctoral fellow in synthetic organic chemistry at Columbia University with Professor Gilbert Stork. He started his career in pharmaceutical research at E.R. Squibb & Co. and continued his research work at Eli Lilly & Co., Intercardia and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Michael J. Sofia was Sr. Vice President of Chemistry at Pharmasset until Pharmasset’s acquisition by Gilead in 2012. He pioneered the development of nucleoside and nucleotide prodrugs for the treatment of hepatitis C virus. Michael J. Sofia is currently Chief Scientific Officer at Arbutus Biopharma and holds a professorship at the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute for Hepatitis Research.

News Update: Presentation of the Award to Dr. Michael J. Sofia by Dr. Janos Fischer, Manchester, XXIV EFMC International Smposium on Medicinal Chemistry

Dr. Janos Fisher’s Speech: As a representative of IUPAC, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, and the Hungarian Pharmaceutical Company Gedeon Richter Plc in Budapest, I am honored to announce the 2016 IUPAC-Richter Prize. This year the 10-member International Selection Committee has awarded the prize to Dr. Michael Sofia from the United States of America. The Selection Committee provided the following justification for this decision. Hepatitis C infection is a serious disease and a hidden epidemic causing more than 300 000 deaths worldwide annually. Before 2013, standard therapy had achieved a cure rate of about 75 %. This situation changed dramatically with the introduction of sofosbuvir. Sofosbuvir inhibits the HCV RNA polymerase, which the hepatitis C virus uses to replicate its RNA. Compared to previous treatments, sofosbuvir-based regimens achieved a higher cure rate with fewer side effects and a significantly reduced duration of therapy. Sofosbuvir was discovered by Michael Sofia and developed by Gilead Sciences. Sofosbuvir and its combinations have significantly improved the treatment of all genotypes of hepatitis C. It is estimated that approximately 1 million HCV infected patients have been cured by sofosbuvir-based therapies. I would like to congratulate Michael Sofia for his excellent work and his contribution to humanity by presenting to him this plaque as a symbol of the 2016 IUPAC-Richter Prize.


Gedeon RichterGedeon Richter Plc. (www.richter.hu), headquartered in Budapest/Hungary, is a major pharmaceutical company in Central Eastern Europe, with an expanding direct presence in Western Europe. Richter’s consolidated sales were approximately EUR 1.2 billion (US$ 1.3 billion) in 2015, while its market capitalization amounted to EUR 3.3 billion (US$ 3.6 billion) at the end of December 2015. The product portfolio of Richter covers almost all important therapeutic areas, including gynaecology, central nervous system, and cardiovascular areas. Having the largest R&D unit in Central Eastern Europe, Richter’s original research activity focuses on CNS disorders. With its widely acknowledged steroid chemistry expertise, Richter is a significant player in the female healthcare field worldwide. Richter is also active in biosimilar product development.


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