Public Release: 

Kingsport, Tenn., researcher receives award for pharmaceutical research

American Chemical Society

Chemist Neil W. Boaz, Ph.D., of Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tenn., will be honored Nov. 15 by the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, for discovering and developing a new class of chiral ligands that will help pharmaceutical researchers produce new active ingredients more quickly and cost effectively. He will receive an Industrial Innovation Award at the ACS Southeast regional meeting in Charleston, S.C.

"Even in this multidisciplinary age, the individual investigator is crucial, the creative process heroic and inspiring," said Eli Pearce, Ph.D., president of the American Chemical Society. "Those who initially probe the unknown alone will ultimately serve as catalysts for development of the products, materials and technologies that advance civilization in the 21st century."

Drug compounds often exist as right- and left-handed mirror images, but usually only one of the "hands" exhibits the desired pharmacological activity. If a drug can be made one-handed, or chiral, it generally means that smaller doses are needed and potential side effects from the other "hand" can be avoided.

Chiral drugs have reached a total market value of more than $100 billion in the past year, driving researchers to develop new catalysts for synthesizing these one-handed forms. Boaz discovered, developed and led the commercialization of the BoPhoz™ chiral ligands for use in chiral catalysis. These ligands offer pharmaceutical scientists a new path to produce active ingredients quickly and at lower cost. They are particularly effective in the preparation of a wide variety of chiral amino acid derivatives, many of which are found in new pharmaceuticals.

The American Chemical Society's Industrial Innovation Awards recognize individuals and teams whose discoveries and inventions contribute to the commercial success of their companies and enhance people's quality of life.

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NOTE TO REPORTERS: The winner will present a 20-minute talk about his work on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 3:45 p.m. If you would like to attend the awards banquet or presentation, please contact the person listed above.

Neil W. Boaz, Ph.D., is a senior research associate in the Eastman Research Division at Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tenn. He received a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Delaware in 1980 and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Harvard University in 1985. He resides in Kingsport.

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