Peter R. Bernstein, Ph.D.


Peter R. Bernstein received a BS in Chemistry with High Distinction from the University of Rochester in 1973, and earned his PhD with Professor Gilbert Stork at Columbia University in 1977. He then served as an Organic Chemistry Fellow in the laboratory of Professor Barry Trost in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 1979, Peter joined the Medicinal Chemistry Department of ICI Pharmaceuticals Group in Wilmington, DE. He worked there 31 years, continuing through its spin-off as Zeneca Pharmaceuticals and through its merger with Astra Pharmaceuticals to form AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. Following his retirement in 2010 he established PhaRmaB LLC as a platform for providing consulting and mentoring in drug discovery and development.

Peter has worked at developing treatments to many different diseases, through multiple mechanisms of action, and has had >10 compounds go into clinical development. Early in his career he initiated and worked on ICI’s leukotriene antagonist project. During this effort he co-invented and helped develop Accolate®, the first leukotriene antagonist to be approved in the US. After developing and out- licensing a back-up, ZD3523, he moved onto inhibitors of human neutrophil elastase. Two compounds from those efforts, ZD8321 and ZD0892, entered development. Since then he has worked on or led chemistry teams targeting: neurokinin antagonists, β-estrogen agonists, γ-secretase inhibitors, H3 antagonists, 5-HT1B antagonists and dual NET/DAT reuptake inhibitors. In the area of neurokinin antagonists he led the chemistry teams working on dual NK1/NK2 antagonists for pulmonary disease [ZD6021 and ZD2249] and NK1 antagonists targeted for CNS indications [ZD4974]. Recently, he led the chemistry of, and then was project leader for, the 5-HT1B-antagonist program [AZD3783] and the H3 antagonist program [AZD5213].

Peter is an author on ~190 scientific papers, presentations, and patents. He is very active in the scientific community as speaker, conference organizer, and board member. In 2011, he was an Alternate Councilor for the MEDI Division of the ACS and was on the Editorial (Advisory) Board for Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and Topics in Medicinal Chemistry. He was the Chair of the 2004 Gordon Research Conference on Medicinal Chemistry, served 8 years as Member and Chair of the Carothers Award Committee of the Delaware Section of ACS and 9 years on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Keystone Symposia. At AstraZeneca, in addition to managerial duties, he progressed on the scientific ladder to the position of Senior Principal Scientist.

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.