Peter Bernstein, PhD

Medicinal Chemistry Advisor

Dr Peter Bernstein is a consultant in medicinal chemistry and drug design for EDI.  Peter began his industrial career by joining the Medicinal Chemistry Department of ICI Pharmaceuticals. He worked there 31 years, continuing through its spin-off as Zeneca Pharmaceuticals and its merger with Astra Pharmaceuticals to form AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. Upon his retirement he formed PharmaB LLC as a platform to provide consulting and training.  

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, chemistry 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]. He was the project leader for the preclinical 5-HT1B-antagonist [AZD3783] and the H3-antagonist [AZD5213] programs. At his retirement he held an appointment at one of the senior most levels of the AZ scientific ladder. 

Peter is an author on greater than 200 scientific papers, presentations, and patents. He is active as a consultant, editor, board member and currently holds appointments as: Digests Editor, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters; Member, ISC Advisory Panel, Harrington Discovery Institute; and is an Affiliated Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Delaware. Peter was chosen as the “Distinguished Lecturer” for the 2010 AstraZeneca Excellence in Chemistry Award Symposium and was named to the ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame. In 2018 he was named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society.

Peter received his B.Sc. degree in Chemistry, with high distinction, from the University of Rochester. He then earned a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry with Professor G. Stork, Columbia University, and did a postdoctoral fellowship with Professor B. Trost, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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