The winners will receive $25,000 in prize money
Phenomenex along with The Analytical Scientist has announced the inaugural winners of the 2015 Humanity in Science Award. The winners are Dr Peter H Seeberger and Dr Andreas Seidel-Morgenstern of the Max-Planck Institutes in Potsdam and Magdeburg, Germany for their groundbreaking work on antimalarial drugs.
"It has been such a pleasure for us to discover the incredible contributions to humanity by so many analytical scientists around the world. Scientists are humble people and, often, their work goes without publicity. We are so pleased to bring light to this amazing life-saving work and to honor our deserving winners with the grand prize," said Mr Fasha Mahjoor, president and CEO of Phenomenex.
Mr Seeberger and Mr Seidel-Morgenstern's winning essay is titled, "Continuous Flow Production and Purification of Malaria Medications" which allows for cheaper antimalarial medications to be produced.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 584,000 people died from malaria in 2013; 90 percent of deaths were in Africa. The most effective drugs to treat malaria are artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs), which are expensive - and prone to counterfeiting. Up to 50 percent of ACTs in Africa and Asia are counterfeit. By coupling flow chemistry with advanced chromatography methods, Mr Seeberger and Mr Seidel-Morgenstern discovered that ACTs can be produced from plant waste material, air, and light. The new process, currently being implemented in a pilot plant in Vietnam, produces an active pharmaceutical ingredient with an HPLC purity of greater than 99.5 percent, which meets the standards set by the FDA and WHO.
"We were all overwhelmed by the quality of the entries received for the Humanity in Science Award. The judging process was no easy task - and that's why we invited an international team of thought leaders to assess the entries. I am happy to report, however, that each and every judge was happy with the outcome. We all offer our congratulations to the winners but also to the runners up. I truly hope that this annual award serves its singular purpose - to shine the spotlight on the great work of analytical scientists around the world," said Mr Rich Whitworth, editor, The Analytical Scientist.