Beginning in 2000, Nancy Thornberry, senior vice president and franchise head of Diabetes and Endocrinology, and Ann Weber, vice president and site lead for Discovery Chemistry at Merck Research Laboratories, started work on what would become a medicine with a new mechanism of action in treating type 2 diabetes.
Nancy, a graduate of Muhlenberg College and employee of Merck since 1979, has said, "Discovering an important new medicine is the goal of every person who works in pharmaceutical research. Until it actually happens, though, there is no way to know how absolutely thrilling it is, and how incredibly and deeply satisfying it feels."
Ann, a graduate of Notre Dame and the Ph.D. program at Harvard, joined the company in 1987 after completing her graduate studies. She said that when she saw the first promising clinical data, "I felt like I was flying; my feet never touched the ground."
Recently, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) honored Nancy and Ann with the prestigious Discoverers 2011 award. Although women have been a part of teams that have won this award in the past, this is the first time in the award's 24-year history that women alone have won.
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