Board of Directors
Dr. Young is a retired Vice President, Basic Research and former Head of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, Pennsylvania. During his tenure at Merck, the Medicinal Chemistry Department’s programs sought to identify drug candidates for a variety of disease targets, including agents for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C infection, endocrine problems, sleep disorders, depression, pain, migraine, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease. After graduating from Stevens Institute of Technology, he completed his Ph.D. in organic chemistry in Professor Clayton Heathcock’s laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. He then joined Merck Research Laboratories in 1982.
Dr. Young’s research at Merck has focused on the design and synthesis of small molecule antiviral compounds targeting the HIV protease, reverse transcriptase and integrase enzymes as chemotherapeutic agents. In 1992 this work led to the discovery of efavirenz (StocrinTM, Merck; SustivaTM, Bristol-Meyers-Squibb), a widely prescribed non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor. Working in conjunction with the antiviral research group, his efforts to discover an effective inhibitor of HIV integrase for the treatment of HIV/AIDS lead to the first clinical proof of concept for this mechanism in 2002. Continued work led to the discovery of raltegravir (IsentressTM, Merck), which gained regulatory approval in 2007.
Currently Dr. Young is a consultant and Acting Head of Chemistry for BeiGene LTD, an innovative oncology focused biotechnology company located in Beijing, China. He also consults for a number of other companies, universities and NGOs on matters of drug discovery and medicinal chemistry. Dr. Young has published extensively in professional journals on synthetic organic chemistry and drug design. He is a member of the Editorial Board for the journal ChemMedChem.
Dr. Young has been awarded thirty four U.S. patents covering an array of drug candidates. He is a member of the Medicinal Chemistry Section of the American Chemical Society, AAAS, Sigma Xi and Scientific Advisory Boards for the University of Pennsylvania and University of California, Berkeley.