Stacy Remiszewski


Stacy Remiszewski, a recent inductee into the Drug Inventors Wall of Fame, led a 1997 research team that created the chemical compound panobinostat, which was eventually approved as a treatment for the blood cancer multiple myeloma.

John O'Boyle

The goal of every medical chemist is to develop new drugs. Most never do. A  promising compound may work in the lab but not in the human body, prove too toxic or insufficiently stable, or fail to gain the approval of the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). So to lead a team whose work results in a new pharmaceutical agent, capable of combating disease and extending life, is particularly sweet. Just ask Stacy Remiszewski.

As a fellow at the pharmaceutical company Novartis, he led the 1997 project research team that created the chemical compound panobinostat, shepherding it through preclinical trials. But it would be another 18 years before the drug was approved by the FDA and marketed to the medical community as Farydak, a treatment for the blood cancer multiple myeloma. Farydak has already helped to improve and prolong the lives of cancer patients, and it recently earned Remiszewski NCAS’81 a spot on the Drug Inventors Wall of Fame, created by the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, the research arm of the Hepatitis B Foundation.

After working in the field of medical chemistry for 28 years, Remiszewski—a co-inventor on 30 U.S. patents for a variety of chemical compounds—was deeply honored. “It’s really exciting,” he says, “to be recognized for what anyone in the industry will tell you is a rare, rare thing.”

Remiszewski grew up as a self-described “geeky kid with a chemistry set,” but it wasn’t until his undergraduate days, as a chemistry major working under the tutelage of the late professor Hugh Thompson, that he decided to embrace the challenge of organic chemistry. “The idea of making things that had never been made before was really cool to me,” he recalls.

Today, as head of chemistry at FORGE Life Science, a drug-discovery company focused on antiviral medications, Remiszewski is facing a new challenge: after 25 years of working in anticancer research (at Novartis, Schering-Plough, and Hoffmann-La Roche) and learning, on the job, the intricacies of cancer biology, he now has to master a whole new class of targets, viruses. He relishes the opportunity. “It’s challenging, in a good way,” he says. “It expands your horizons.”