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16 July 2019
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Herbert Waldmann, Director at the Max-Planck-Institute (MPI) of Molecular Physiology, was awarded the Paul Ehrlich Prize of the French Society for Therapeutic Chemistry (SCT) at the "International Conference on Medicinal Chemistry" in Nantes, France, for his outstanding work in the field of medicinal chemistry. The prize is awarded annually and is sponsored by Janssen-Cilag SA, a subsidiary of the Johnson & Johnson Group.
Nature as Pharmacy – The search for new active substances
Herbert Waldmann is a leading protagonist in the field of chemical biology, which he has shaped with his innovative approaches. At the interface between biology and chemistry, this discipline combines methods from both disciplines and uses molecular probes as powerful tools for investigating biological phenomena. Waldmann focuses on natural substances that have evolved over millions of years and are used by plants, animals and microorganisms e.g. as messengers. One focus of his research is on the development of innovative active substances that have the potential to influence disease-causing processes and serve as the basis for new therapeutics.
Herbert Waldmann and his team are currently working on the development of so-called pseudo natural substances. In this novel approach, different natural substances are first reduced to their fragments which are then combined with each other in unprecedented ways. By this means, it was possible to develop completely new active substances that can, for example, stop the absorption of glucose in cancer cells.
Since his appointment as Director at the MPI of Molecular Physiology and as Chair of Organic Chemistry at the TU Dortmund in 1999, Waldmann has contributed significantly to the development of Dortmund as a centre for chemical biology. He is the initiator of the Chemical Genomics Centre founded in 2005 in Dortmund, which the Max Planck Society runs together with research-driven pharmaceutical companies. As an author, Herbert Waldmann has published so far over 500 articles in renowned scientific journals. For his work in the field of chemical biology, he has been awarded numerous prizes and honors, such as the Otto Bayer Prize, the Emil Fischer Medal of the German Chemical Society Chemists (GDCh) and an Honorary Doctorate from Leiden University in the Netherlands.