Ronald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry: Muthiah “Mano” Manoharan

Sponsor: Endowed fund established by Ronald Breslow and others

Citation: For the successful development of RNA therapies (such as small interfering and antisense RNAs) based on foundational contributions to nature-mimicking chemical modifications and conjugation strategies for RNA

Current position: Senior vice president of drug innovation, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

Education: BSc and MSc, chemistry, American College, Madurai; PhD, chemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Manoharan on his hopes for the future: “As chemists, we need to fully understand the genetics and cell biology of neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases, mental health conditions, and cancers to optimize discovery, delivery, and development of RNA-based medicines. This will allow us to achieve effective cures, infrequent dosing, safety, and patient-friendly modes of drug administration. I also very much hope that we can democratize RNA-based medicine and make these therapeutics available to people in all countries.”

What Manoharan’s colleagues say: “Mano is an outstanding scientist, an academic-style chemist working in industry, whose discoveries have led the forefront of therapeutic [small interfering RNA (siRNA)] science and technology. His efforts have come to fruition in the past few years with several siRNA therapeutics on the market and with more in the clinic.”—Cynthia J. Burrows, University of Utah

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