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Barry Sharpless of La Jolla’s Scripps Research wins second Nobel Prize in chemistry

K. Barry Sharpless of La Jolla’s Scripps Research on Wednesday won a second Nobel Prize in chemistry, this time for helping create a method for building molecules that has revolutionized the development of new drugs.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced that Sharpless, 81, will share this year’s Nobel with Carolyn Bertozzi of Stanford and Morten Meldal of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Sharpless becomes only the fifth person in history to win a Nobel twice. He was given the Nobel in 2001 for related research in drug development.

This is also the second time in as many years that a Scripps Research scientist has been awarded the Nobel. Last year, Ardem Patapoutian won a Nobel in physiology or medicine for helping to discover cell receptors that enable people to sense heat, cold, pain, touch and sound.

The Nobel Committee said that Sharpless, Bertozzi and Meldal “laid the foundation for a functional form of chemistry – click chemistry – in which molecular building blocks snap together quickly and efficiently.

“Bertozzi has taken click chemistry to a new dimension and started utilising it in living organisms.”

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