Professor Wermuth passed away in September 2015. To the members of IUPAC who have had the chance and good fortune to have met him, Camille will be remembered as a distinguished gentleman. Camille made many outstanding contributions to medicinal chemistry, both in research and in supporting the subject, not least in IUPAC. He helped to establish the Medicinal Chemistry Section in 1987 and became Section President. He was President of the Chemistry and Human Division in 1998-99. He was a strong proponent for enlarging the scope of activities and promoted new initiatives through the project system. During his tenure with IUPAC, he invited and nurtured the participation of many new members. It is with gratitude and admiration that many have expressed their sadness, owing much for his leadership during those early times.
Camille Wermuth studied Pharmacy and Chemistry at the Strasbourg University (Professor J. Schreiber and G. Ourisson) and did his PhD in Organic Chemistry on “Directed aldol condensation between enolisable aldehydes and alpha-ketocarboxylic acids” (1964). He became interested in Medicinal Chemistry during his two years military service in the French Navy at the “Centre d’Études Physiobiologiques Appliquées à la Marine” in Toulon. At that time this Research Center was directed by the famous surgeon Dr Henri Laborit, the inventor of artificial hibernation and of chlorpromazine.
Dr Wermuth was Professor of Organic Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry at the Faculty of Pharmacy, Louis Pasteur University, Strasbourg from 1969 to 2002. For about three decades, he also created the Molecular Pharmacochemistry Unit of the CNRS (“Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique”), where he lead the development and synthesis of many research tools for the neurosciences and the development of a new psychotropic drug, minaprine, marketed in Europe since 1980. In 1999, he founded Prestwick Chemical.
Prof. Wermuth contributed to the development of three marketed drugs and the results of his work are documented in more than 250 publications and 60 patents. He has also significantly contributed to the advancement of education in medicinal chemistry with his famous textbook, “The Practice of Medicinal Chemistry”. The 4th edition was recently released in September 2015. He was also co-editor of one of IUPAC’s “Chemistry for the 21st Century” volumes on the subject.
Professor Wermuth has been awarded the Charles Mentzer Prize of the Société Française de Chimie Thérapeutique in 1984, the Léon Velluz Prize of the French Academy of Science in 1995, the Prix de l’Ordre des Pharmaciens 1998 by the French Academy of Pharmacy, and the Carl Mannich Prize of the German Pharmaceutical Society in 2000. He is a Corresponding Member of the German Pharmaceutical Society and was nominated Commandeur des Palmes Académiques in 1995. In 2010, Camille became Emeritus Fellow of the IUPAC Chemistry and Human Division, an award presented to him by Professor Robin Ganellin at the September meeting of the European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry in Brussels. On that same occasion he also received the 2010 Nauta Award for Pharmacochemistry for his significant contribution to the science of medicinal chemistry, both by scientific achievements and educational activities, by his engagement in promoting Medicinal Chemistry in Europe by organizing several symposia, and through his active role in learned societies.
In a 2010 interview published in Le Comprimé, the journal of the Faculty of Pharmacy of Strasbourg, Camille’s outspoken and colorful character sparkles. He loved his students and they have apparently many good reasons to remember him. His final advice to them was: «Dans la vie, il faut dire ce que l’on aime, il faut le faire et il faut s’y tenir. » « Quand on travaille, on travaille. Quand on s’amuse, on s’amuse. »[*]
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