Miguel Angel Ondetti
(May 14, 1930—August 23, 2004)
(Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation)
Miguel Ondetti and David
Cushman developed captopril, the first of a new class of drugs
known as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Highly
effective in treating hypertension, captopril lowered blood
pressure with fewer undesirable side effects than earlier
treatments, increasing patient quality of life and compliance.
Scientists discovered the venom of the Brazilian pit viper
inhibited the production of angiotensin II, which causes
narrowing of the blood vessels and increased blood pressure.
While working at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Ondetti and
Cushman identified, purified, and synthesized the key substance.
After years of trying to make the drug in pill form, they made a
breakthrough in 1974, synthesizing captopril.
Captopril was the first medical treatment to establish
angiotensin’s vital role in hypertension, unveiling a new field
of medical research—ACE inhibition. Captopril has been found to
significantly reduce death rates in patients with congestive
heart failure and to be effective in postponing kidney failure
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ondetti earned his Ph.D. from
the University of Buenos Aires in 1957. During his 34-year
career at Bristol-Myers Squibb, he earned more than 100 patents
and was awarded the Perkin Medal in 1991.
Leroy E. Hood
John Joseph Lynott