Previously, he was Vice President, Discovery Chemistry and Technology, Global Pharmaceutical Research and Development at AbbVie, Illinois, USA and head of their global Medicinal Chemistry Leadership Team and was also responsible for the Discovery Chemistry and Technology organization within their Discovery organization and chemistry outsourcing activities. That group’s efforts were focused on new initiatives in the areas of high throughput synthesis and purification, hit to lead chemistry, chemical biology including target identification proteomics and new enabling technology identification and development.
He was named an AbbVie Distinguished Research Fellow in 2015.
During his tenure at Abbott/AbbVie Laboratories, Dr Djuric was a Project Leader for groups in the Immunoscience, Metabolic Disease, Antiinfective and CNS areas. Several of these programs have advanced compounds into clinical development (e.g DPPIV inhibitor ABT-279) and to the market including Abbott’s proprietary rapamycin analog, Zotarolimus, currently licensed to Medtronics for use on their vascular stents, marketed in the United States and Europe. More recently, compounds from his team’s medicinal chemistry efforts have entered clinical trials (Phase 1 and 2) in the CNS and Cystic Fibrosis areas.
Dr Djuric has over 180 scientific publications, presentations and patents/ applications pending. He has also given over 45 invited lectures at universities and scientific meetings.
He currently serves as Chair of the Cresset Scientific Advisory Board and is a member of several Editorial Advisory Boards including the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and is an Associate Editor for ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters. In addition, he also holds an Adjunct Professorship in the School of Pharmacy at the High Point University, NC.
He has a broad knowledge in R&D and in strategic innovation with extensive experience managing and directing R&D groups from a Board level position for over 10 years.
Didier holds a bachelor in Chemistry from the Catholic University of Leuven and a master and Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Antwerp.
He started his career as a researcher under the leadership of Dr. Paul Janssen and published as key author over 60 publications in peer reviewed journals.
Didier has been the Senior Vice President Research and Early Development in Europe for J&J Pharmaceutical R&D. He was site head for R&D at the former Janssen Pharmaceutica site in Belgium and in charge of research teams in the US, Germany, France and Spain. Didier headed different major restructuring and organizational changes. He designed and implemented novel strategies to improve the success rate in R&D including the integration of non-clinical, clinical, regulatory and health economics expertise early on in the R&D process.
Didier holds the Chair of Pharmacology at the Faculty of Medicine at the Hasselt University and runs a consultancy office in support of research institutes and SME’s in the Pharma and Biotechnology sector.
He acted as a consultant on Tropical Mycology and Fermentation Development to the Natural Products Discovery Company Xenova in the 1980s, including building a culture collections from tropical rainforest, and has experience of working in S.America, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
He has been a consultant Mycologist with the Hypha Discovery team since the inception of the company.
He obtained his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Birmingham in the U.K. in 1971, and then carried out a post-doctoral fellowship and a research associateship at the University of Alberta in Canada from 1972-1976. In 1976, he took up an appointment at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois in the Division of Biology and Medicine. While at Argonne, he won the University of Chicago Medal for Distinguished Performance at Argonne National Laboratory (awarded to scientists under 40) for his work on novel phospholipid-nucleoside conjugates as prodrugs for anticancer agents.
During this time he also held an Adjunct Associate Professorship in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Illinois Medical Center, Chicago. Dr. MacCoss began his pharma career at Merck as a Research Fellow in 1982, becoming Vice President, Basic Chemistry-Rahway in 1999. In 2003, he became the Vice President of Basic Chemistry and Drug Discovery Sciences, and the Deputy Site-Head of the Rahway Site; he was also Chairman of the Merck World-Wide Chemistry Council.During his time as Head of the Merck Rahway Chemistry Department, the Department produced approximately 100 preclinical drug candidates. In 2008 Dr. MacCoss joined the Schering-Plough Research Institute as Group Vice President for Chemical Research and in addition, he initiated and chaired the Schering-Plough Global Chemistry Council.
Dr. MacCoss left big pharma in 2010 and founded Bohicket Pharma Consulting LLC where he now serves as a consultant in drug discovery for the pharmaceutical industry. He serves on the Board of Directors of Idera Pharmaceuticals (and is Chairman of their Compensation Committee) and on the SAB of ShangPharma Corporation; he consults regularly for UCB SA (Consultant Senior Fellow), ShangPharma (ChemPartner), and Gilead Sciences, Inc., where he now also serves on their SAB. In the academic arena, he was recently appointed Visiting Professor of Chemistry for Medicine at the University of Oxford and he also serves on the Advisory Council for the Executive Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University, NJ.
Dr. MacCoss led a medicinal chemistry group that synthesized the first oral Substance P antagonist, Emend™ (aprepitant), an anti-emetic product approved by the FDA in 2003 for the treatment of chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting (CINV), for which he was awarded the Thomas Edison Award in 2004, along with the other inventors. In addition, his group prepared the novel IV prodrug of Emend (Ivemend™, fosaprepitant), which was approved by the FDA in January 2008. In 2007, Dr. MacCoss was awarded a second Thomas Edison Award, for his contributions to the inventorship of Januvia™ (sitagliptin phosphate), the first approved DPP-IV inhibitor for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Januvia™ was approved in 2006 and a fixed dose combination of Januvia™ and metformin (Janumet™) was approved in 2007. In March 2008, Dr. MacCoss was awarded the NJ American Chemical Society Award for Creativity in Molecular Design and Synthesis; he was admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) in 2008, and was inducted into the American Chemical Society Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame in 2009. In 2010, Dr. MacCoss was the recipient of the American Chemical Society Division of Medicinal Chemistry Award.
Dr MacCoss has authored or co-authored 162 publications in refereed journals, he is an inventor on 99 issued U.S. patents, has authored 10 book chapters and has been an invited speaker 52 times at major symposia or at universities and industrial venues.