La Jolla, Calif., — Dr. John W. Kozarich, Chairman & President of ActivX Biosciences, Inc. (La Jolla, CA) has received the 2009 Distinguished Scientist Award from the San Diego Section of the American Chemical Society. The award recognizes his outstanding contributions spanning a variety of scientific endeavors including academic and industrial research, teaching, corporate leadership, mentoring young scientists and philanthropy. Created in 1992, the award has honored many of San Diego’s top chemists and Dr. Kozarich is honored to have been chosen as the 2009 recipient of this award.
Dr. Kozarich was an NSF Predoctoral Fellow in Chemistry at MIT (Ph.D., 1975) and an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow in Biochemistry at Harvard. He began his independent career in academia, holding tenured professorships and an American Cancer Society Faculty Research Award at Yale University School of Medicine in pharmacology and at the University of Maryland in chemistry and biochemistry. A sabbatical in 1990 as CSO of a start-up biotech company Alkermes, in Cambridge, MA motivated him to explore other venues for his chemical interests. He became Vice President of Biochemistry at Merck Research Laboratories (Rahway, NJ) in 1992. Dr. Kozarich moved to San Diego to head ActivX in 2001 and the company was acquired by Kyorin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Tokyo) in 2004. ActivX has pioneered the development of activity-based proteomics and its application to drug discovery and development.
Internationally known for his work on enzyme mechanisms and the chemistry of DNA-cleaving antitumor drugs, Dr. Kozarich has received numerous awards and served on many committees in the academic, government and business sectors. In addition to his role at ActivX, he is Chairman of the Board at Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Chief Scientific Advisor at Kyorin, and Adjunct Professor of Chemical Physiology at The Scripps Research Institute.