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Thomas Shenk leaves Merck board to focus on forthcoming antiviral company

Aims to commercialise research work carried out at Princeton University

Thomas Shenk - formerly of MerckThomas Shenk has retired from Merck & Co's board of directors after 11 years.

He has left to focus on a new business build on his work with Princeton University, where he has been Elkins Professor in the department of molecular biology since 1984 and served as chairman of the department from 1996 to 2004.

His forthcoming company will aim to commercialise discoveries in the field of antiviral therapy made at his Princeton laboratory.

Shenk's research includes work with fellow academic Ileana Cristea to research sirtuins – enzymes that can stem viral infections.

The broad antiviral activity of sirtuins indicates they can be used to treat a number of viral diseases.

A provisional patent application has been filed by Shenk and Cristea on known sirtuin agonists and several dual antagonists as broad spectrum antiviral therapeutics.

Shenk is also director of the Fox Chase Cancer Center – a Philadelphia-based hospital specialising in the treatment, research and prevention of cancer – and editor-in-chief for The Journal of Virology.

10th February 2012

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