Klaus K. Schmiegel
Klaus Schmiegel and Bryan Molloy co-invented a class of aryloxyphenylpropylamines which includes the compound fluoxetine hydrochloride. Fluoxetine hydrochloride is the active ingredient in Prozac®, the widely successful antidepressant.
Since its introduction in the U.S. in 1988, Prozac has revolutionized the treatment of depression. It was the first commercially available SSRI, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that carries messages between nerve cells; it is secreted by one cell and picked up by receptors on another. Once the message is received, a neurotransmitter is retrieved back into the cell that secreted it in a process known as reuptake. Prozac is believed to inhibit the reuptake of serotonin in most patients suffering from depression.
Schmiegel was born in Chemnitz, Germany, and in 1951 immigrated to Michigan. He received his B.S. in chemistry from the University of Michigan, an A.M. in organic chemistry from Dartmouth College, and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Stanford University. He joined Eli Lilly in 1968 as a senior organic chemist, remaining there until his retirement in 1993. During his career, he received 18 patents in areas relating to the synthesis of compounds.