Lloyd H. Conover
Lloyd Conover invented tetracycline in 1952. Following its commercialization in 1953, it quickly became the most prescribed broad-spectrum antibiotic. Tetracycline remains a drug of choice for a number of serious bacterial infections.
Born in Orange, New Jersey, Conover received his A.B. from Amherst College in 1947 and a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in 1950. He joined a small Pfizer Research team exploring the chemistry of antibiotics Terramycin and Aureomycin. It was believed that altering its molecular structure would destroy the therapeutic activity of an antibiotic a substance produced by a microorganism. Conover's discovery of tetracycline by chemical transformation of Aueromycin opened a new avenue of antibiotic research; most subsequent antibiotic discoveries have been made by chemical modification of prototype antibiotics.
With co-inventors W.C. Austin and J.W. McFarland, Conover also patented pyrantel, a drug used for the treatment of human and animal worm infestations. Pfizer chemists, directed by Conover, also discovered the antiprotozoal drug tinidazole, the antibiotic indanylcarbenicillin and the animal anti-infective/growth promotant carbodox.
Conover became director of Pfizer's U.K. research laboratories in 1971. He retired as a Senior Vice President of Pfizer Central Research in 1984.