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Benny C. Askew, Jr. Ph.D. ’83

Chemistry & Biology

Benny C. Askew, Jr. Ph.D. ’83

Dr. Askew’s academic training began at Gannon University, where he graduated (cum-laude) in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and biology. He then went on to the University of Pittsburgh, where he obtained a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry in 1988.

Dr. Askew’s graduate work at Pittsburgh was highlighted in 11 publications, such as the “Journal of the American Chemical Society” and “Science”. He was also awarded two fellowships: The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and Ford Foundation Minority Dissertation Fellowship.

After he completed his Ph.D., Dr. Askew joined the Molecular Biophysics Research Department at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ, where he worked on the development of molecular probes to study signal processing in cells. In 1990, Dr. Askew moved to Merck Research Labs in West Point, PA where he worked on various drug discovery projects in three areas: cardiovascular, bone metabolism and oncology therapy. During his time at Merck & Co., Dr.Askew contributed to the discovery of two marketed drugs and co-authored 15 journal articles.

In 2000, Dr. Askew joined Amgen in Thousand Oaks, CA where he played a key role in building Amgen’s Small Molecule Research Organization. Dr. Askew moved to Serono in Rockland, MA as Head of Chemistry in 2005. Following the acquisition of Serono by Merck KGaA of Darmstadt, Germany in 2007, Dr. Askew was appointed Global Head of Medicinal Chemistry for Merck Serono, which operates in North America as EMDSerono.

Dr. Askew currently directs the activities of Merck Serono/EMD Serono’s chemistry groups in Boston, Geneva, Switzerland; Chilly-Mazarin, France; and Darmstadt, Germany. Merck Serono’s Global Research Organization is committed to the discovery and development of innovative medicines in the areas of Oncology, Neurodegenerative Diseases, Autoimmune Inflammatory Diseases, and Endocrinology/Reproductive Health.

Throughout his biomedical career, Dr. Askew has contributed to the discovery of three marketed drugs and several additional candidates currently in late stage clinical trials. These accomplishments are documented in the 35 journal articles and 24 granted US patents on which he is an inventor.

Dr. Askew and his wife, Patricia, reside in Massachusetts.

(Published prior to 2009)