Jonathan Spicehandler dies

Former chairman of Schering-Plough was one of the first to dive into recombinant DNA technology, helped develop interferon

Kirsten Weir
Aug 7, 2006
Jonathan Spicehandler, retired chairman of the Schering-Plough Research Institute, died July 30 from brain cancer. He was 57. Spicehandler is credited with helping develop a widely-used IV antibiotic and interferon, leading to the first approved drug for hepatitis C. He was both a physician (trained in infectious diseases) and a businessman -- an unusual combination in the pharmaceutical industry, according to mentor and close friend James Rahal, director of the infectious disease section at NY Hospital Queens and a professor of medicine at Weill Medical College at Cornell University."At the time the pharmaceutical industry did not attract well trained academic physicians," Rahal told The Scientist. "He went into the pharmaceutical industry almost as a pioneer from the infectious disease world." Spicehandler brought a great deal to the industry, his friend added. "He had tremendous clinical and scientific insight." At Hoffman-La Roche, Spicehandler was responsible for the clinical...

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