Dr Bryan Barnet Molloy (30 March 1939 – 20 May 2004) was a Scottish chemist, known notably for helping to invent the antidepressant Prozac, a name for fluoxetine. Prozac was introduced in 1988, and has been the world's leading antidepressant.
He moved to the USA in 1963, working on research at three universities for three years, including Imperial College London. He researched the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and its effect on the heart.
He worked with David T. Wong and Klaus Schmiegel. Tricyclic antidepressants had been introduced in the 1950s, and further antidepressants included monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs); these had side-effects. In 1971, Wong and Molloy went to a lecture in Indianapolis given by Solomon H. Snyder, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University. This gave them a method to test new compounds similar to antihistamines found by Molloy, one being fluoxetine.
Fluoxetine hydrochloride (3-aryloxy-3-phenylpropylamine, an aryloxyphenylpropylamine), the first of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), was discovered in 1972, and made public in 1974; work had begun with Robert Rathbun in 1970. Other well-known SSRIs would be sertraline (Zoloft) from Pfizer, and paroxetine (Paxil or Seroxat) from GSK. Fluoxetine is on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines.
He married Kay Koch in 1971. They lived on a farm in Indiana. He had a pilot's licence. He became a US citizen in 1990. He died in 2004, aged 65, in Marion County, Indiana. He was listed in the National Inventors Hall of Fame on 18 September 1999 at Akron, Ohio.
- "Ray W. Fuller, David T. Wong, and Bryan B. Molloy". Science History Institute. Retrieved 21 March 2018.