Accelerating Breakthrough Discoveries into Medicines

Peter R. Bernstein, PhD

Peter R Bernstein, PhD

Dr. Peter R. Bernstein received his BS in Chemistry from the University of Rochester in 1973, and he continued his studies in Organic Chemistry under the direction of Professor Gilbert Stork at Columbia University, obtaining his PhD four years later. In 1979, after a postdoctoral fellowship with Professor Barry Trost at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Dr. Bernstein joined the Medicinal Chemistry Department of ICI Pharmaceuticals in Wilmington, DE. He worked there for 31 years, through its spin-off as Zeneca Pharmaceuticals and its merger with Astra Pharmaceuticals to form AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. Following his retirement in 2010, Dr. Bernstein established PhaRmaB LLC as a platform for providing consulting and mentoring services in drug discovery and development.

Dr. Bernstein has worked 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 Pharmaceuticals’ leukotriene antagonist project, where he co-invented and helped develop Accolate™, the first leukotriene antagonist to be approved in the U.S. After developing and out-licensing back-up compound ZD3523, he shifted his focus toward inhibitors of human neutrophil elastase, developing two compounds that entered clinical development – ZD8321 and ZD0892. He has since worked with and led chemistry teams targeting neurokinin antagonists, β-estrogen agonists, γ-secretase inhibitors, H3 antagonists, 5-HT1B antagonists and dual NET/DAT reuptake inhibitors.

He was the Chair of the 2004 Gordon Research Conference on Med Chem, served six years on the ACS MEDI executive committee, eight years as Member and Chair of the Carothers Award Committee of the Delaware Section ACS and nine years on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Keystone Symposia. At AstraZeneca, in addition to managerial duties, he progressed up the Scientific Ladder to the position of Senior Principal Scientist. Upon his retirement he was chosen as the “Distinguished Lecturer” for the 2010 AstraZeneca Excellence in Chemistry Award and in 2011 he was named to the ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame.

Dr. Bernstein is an author on more than 200 scientific papers, presentations, and patents. In his retirement, Dr. Bernstein has remained active as a consultant, editor, and board member with current appointments as: Digests Editor, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters; Section Editor, Topics in Drug Design and Discovery, Annual Reports in Medicinal Chemistry; and Adjunct Full Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Delaware.