In 1979, after doctoral studies with Professor Gilbert Stork, Columbia University, and a postdoctoral fellowship with Professor Barry Trost, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Peter joined the Medicinal Chemistry Department of ICI Pharmaceuticals in Wilmington, DE. Over 31 years, he progressed up their scientific ladder, continuing through its spin-off as Zeneca Pharmaceuticals and its merger with Astra Pharmaceuticals to form AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. Following his retirement as Senior Principal Scientist in 2010 he established PhaRmaB LLC as a platform for providing consulting and mentoring in drug discovery and development.
Peter has worked at developing treatments to many different diseases, through multiple mechanisms of action, and has had more than 10 compounds advance into development. Early in his career he initiated, and worked on, ICI’s leukotriene antagonist project. During this effort he co-invented and helped develop Accolate™, the first leukotriene antagonist to be approved in the US. After developing and out-licensing a back-up, ZD3523, he moved onto inhibitors of human neutrophil elastase. Two compounds from those efforts, ZD8321 and ZD0892, entered clinical development. Since then he has worked on or led teams targeting: neurokinin antagonists, β-estrogen agonists, γ-secretase inhibitors, H3 antagonists, 5-HT1B antagonists and dual NET/DAT reuptake inhibitors. In the area of neurokinin antagonists he led the chemistry teams working on dual NK1/NK2 antagonists for pulmonary disease [ZD6021 and ZD2249] and selective NK1 antagonists for CNS indications [ZD4974]. Towards the end of his time at AstraZeneca, he led the preclinical 5-HT1B-antagonist [AZD3783] and the H3-antagonist [AZD5213] programs.
Peter is an author on more than 200 scientific papers, presentations, and patents. He is active as a consultant, editor, and board member. He currently holds appointments as: Member, TDC, Harrington Discovery Institute; Affiliated Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Delaware, and Editor, Topics in Medicinal Chemistry. He was the Chair of the 2004 Gordon Research Conference on Med Chem, Chair of the 17th Tetrahedron Symposium , served 6 years on the ACS MEDI executive committee, 8 years as Member and Chair of the Carothers Award Committee of the Delaware Section ACS and 9 years on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Keystone Symposia.
After his retirement he was chosen as the “Distinguished Lecturer” for the 2010 AstraZeneca Excellence in Chemistry Award Symposium. In 2011 he was named to the ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame and in 2018 he was named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society.