ST. LOUIS--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Certara™, a leading provider of software and scientific consulting services to improve productivity and decision-making from drug discovery through drug development, today announced that its Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Richard D. Cramer III was presented with the 2013 Herman Skolnik Award by the American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Information at the organization’s Fall National Meeting. This award recognizes Cramer’s outstanding contributions to and achievements in the theory and practice of chemical information science.
“The personal impact that Dick has had on many scientists is also very evident; he is an inspiration.”
Cramer’s scientific breakthroughs include the invention of Comparative Molecular Field Analysis (CoMFA®), the first and most widely-used 3D-QSAR technique for molecular discovery. Researchers use CoMFA to build statistical and graphical models that relate the chemical and biological properties of molecules to their 3D structures and the 3D steric and electrostatic properties. These models are then used to predict the activity of novel compounds. This information helps researchers to decide which molecules will likely make the best new drug candidates. This development earned Cramer one of the earliest cheminformatics patents. He continues to refine this technique through his work on topomeric descriptors and other QSAR innovations.
“Dick Cramer’s accomplishments have had, and continue to have, a substantial impact across the drug discovery field. One small indication is that today ‘CoMFA’ is a household word within our community,” said Dr. Antony Williams, vice president of strategic development and head of cheminformatics at the Royal Society of Chemistry, who presented Cramer with his award. “The personal impact that Dick has had on many scientists is also very evident; he is an inspiration.”
“I am grateful to my peers for recognizing my work and bestowing this honor on me. It is really gratifying to have created a product like CoMFA that is still being used to predict small molecule bioactivity 25 years later. I am fortunate to be able to do work that I love, in a challenging field, with such supportive colleagues,” said Cramer.
Cramer began his career as a bench chemist at Polaroid Corp. He was then selected for a two-year fellowship in Nobel prize-winning organic chemist Elias James Corey’s research team at Harvard University, where he created some of the earliest computer-aided chemistry design tools.
After completing his fellowship, Cramer performed QSAR design studies for SmithKline for more than 10 years, serving in increasingly senior roles, which culminated in his appointment as the company’s first research fellow. Cramer founded and led SmithKline’s computer-aided drug design group, championing the introduction of molecular graphics.
In 1983, Cramer joined Tripos, Inc. as vice president for science with the goal of creating new software methodologies for molecule discovery. His successes include CoMFA, topomers, and ChemSpace®, which is used to design large virtual molecular libraries as potential new drug candidates. Cramer remained at Tripos until the company was acquired by Certara in 2007.
During his distinguished career, Cramer has published 55 scientific papers and given numerous presentations both in the U.S. and around the world.
Cramer received his bachelor of arts in chemistry and physics from Harvard University. He also has a doctorate in physical organic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Certara is dedicated to improving human health by delivering a broad spectrum of software products and consulting services, spanning molecular discovery to clinical development, with special focus on supporting translational approaches to drug development. A leading provider of model-based drug development tools, Certara was formed by the acquisition and integration of industry leaders Tripos®, Simcyp™, and Pharsight® Corporation. Each Certara family brand focuses on a key phase within the drug discovery and development process; combined, they offer a unique set of scientific modeling, analysis, and simulation capabilities that can enable the cross-disciplinary approaches necessary for translational science initiatives. For more information, visit www.certara.com.