LAWRENCE — Valentino J. Stella, University Distinguished Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, has been selected to receive the Distinguished Pharmaceutical Scientist Award from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS).
The scientific award is the highest honor presented by AAPS and is bestowed no more than every two years and only when a worthy candidate is identified.
According to the AAPS, the Distinguished Pharmaceutical Chemistry Award recognizes the accomplishments of an individual deemed outstanding because of the impact of his or her work in the pharmaceutical sciences and technologies.
The work must have significantly advanced the frontier of the field and must be demonstrated by a continued effort that involves the testing and establishment of basic concepts, according to the AAPS. These concepts must have important scientific significance and have stimulated research investigations by others.
Stella is internationally known for his research on novel ways to formulate and deliver problematic drug candidates, especially those used to treat cancer and AIDS. He is the inventor or co-inventor on 34 patents that have led to drugs for the treatment of epilepsy, cancer and AIDS. Among the approved drugs that Stella has invented or co-invented are fosphenytoin (Cerebyx), Viread, Lusedra and two drugs in clinical trials, including R788, and Captisol, the solubilizer used in the injectable forms of Vfend, Geodon, Abilify, Nexterone and Cerenia. He also helped formulate paclitaxel and Velcade.
Stella presents his research findings within academia and industry throughout the world, and he has delivered more than 500 invited lectures throughout his career. He has published more than 300 papers and authored, co-authored or edited more than 40 authoritative review articles and six books over the past 40 years.
Ron Borchardt, Summerfield Distinguished Professor at the KU School of Pharmacy, has worked with Stella for close to 40 years. Borchardt, himself a former Distinguished Pharmaceutical Scientist Award recipient, said he could think of no one more deserving of this prestigious award than Stella.
“Seldom in the modern history of pharmaceutical sciences has the field had a scientist like Professor Stella, who has demonstrated the ability to so frequently translate his basic research findings into commercial products that are used to treat human diseases,” Borchardt said. “In my opinion, the only other pharmaceutical scientist during my professional life who has demonstrated this very unique skill was Professor Stella’s teacher and mentor, the late Professor Takeru Higuchi.”
Stella will receive the award at the AAPS annual meeting Oct. 23 in Washington, D.C.