2019 OTS Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Muthiah (Mano) Manoharan
Muthiah (Mano) Manoharan, Ph.D
Muthiah (Mano) Manoharan serves as a Senior Vice President, a Scientific Advisory Board Member, and a Distinguished Research Scientist at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. In 2003, he was the first chemist hired at Alnylam. He and his team pioneered the discovery and development of the chemical modifications that make RNA interference-based human therapeutics possible. This work led to ONPATTRO (patisiran), the first RNAi therapeutic approved by FDA in 2018. Mano has had a distinguished career as a world-leading chemist in the areas of oligonucleotide chemical modifications, conjugation chemistry, and delivery platforms (lipid nanoparticles, polymer conjugates, and complex-forming strategies). Mano’s research group demonstrated for the first time the human therapeutic applications of GalNAc-conjugated oligonucleotides at Alnylam, a platform that has revolutionized the nucleic acid-based therapeutics field with several compounds presently in the advanced clinical trials. Prior to Alnylam, Mano worked at Ionis (formerly Isis) Pharmaceuticals (1990-2003) and Lifecodes Corporation (1988-1990) in the field of antisense oligonucleotide therapeutics.
Mano earned his Ph.D. in chemistry with Professor Ernest L. Eliel at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1983 where he carried out synthesis and conformational analysis of heterocyclic compounds. He started working in the field of oligonucleotides with Professor John A. Gerlt at Yale University in 1983 as a post-doctoral research associate, and delineated mechanisms of DNA repair enzymes using synthetic oligonucleotides. He is an author of more than 220 publications (nearly 43,000 Google Scholar citations with an h-index of 94 and an i10-index of 367) and over 400 abstracts, as well as an inventor of over 240 issued U.S. patents. Mano has received the M. L. Wolfrom Award from the American Chemical Society Carbohydrate Chemistry Division in 2007 and has been recognized as the Lifetime Achievement Awardee of the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society in 2019.