Dr. Joseph Vacca earned his BS in chemistry in 1977 from St. John Fisher College, Rochester, New York, and obtained his Ph.D. degree in Organic Chemistry under Professor Peter T. Lansbury Sr. at the State University of New York at Buffalo (Buffalo, New York). He joined Merck Research Laboratories in 1981 as a Senior Research Chemist and has contributed to several primary research projects including the discovery HIV-1 protease inhibitors, HCV protease inhibitors and the discovery and development of HIV integrase inhibitors. His work on the HIV-1 protease project led to the discovery of Merck’s HIV protease inhibitor CRIXIVAN™ (indinavir sulfate). He has held several positions within the basic research chemistry organization and retired from Merck in Nov. 2011. Dr. Vacca recently joined WuxiApptec Ltd. to lead their Early Success Sharing Partnerships business unit which will be based in the US.
Dr. Vacca has over 100 publications and patents and is the holder of many awards including a Merck Directors Award given by the Merck board of Directors (1998); PhRMA Discoverers Award (1999); Intellectual Property Owners "National Inventor of the year Award" (1997); European Inventor of the Year (non-EU nation)(2007); ACS "Award for Creative Invention" (1999); and was a named a Merck Research Laboratories Presidential Fellow in 2008. He was recently named to the American Chemical Society Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame (Aug. 2012).