David Cushman

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David Cushman (November 15, 1939 – August 14, 2000) was an American chemist who co-invented captopril, the first of the ACE inhibitors used in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. With Miguel A. Ondetti, he won the 1999 Lasker Award for: "developing an innovative approach to drug design based on protein structure and using it to create the ACE inhibitors, powerful oral agents for the treatment of high blood pressure, heart failure, and diabetic kidney disease."[1]


After earning his Ph.D. in 1966 from the University of Illinois, Dr. Cushman joined the Squibb Institute for Medical Research. His and Dr. Ondetti's research began with the Brazilian pit viper, one of the world's deadliest snakes. Something in the venom inhibits angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), which helps regulate blood pressure.[2]

Dr. Cushman says captopril's significance from a basic research point of view is that it was developed through pure chemical design. He credits Dr. John Vane with suggesting angiotensin converting enzyme as a target for research at The Squibb Institute. As Dr. Ondetti put it in an interview, "Capoten really was the first example of rational drug design based on a hypothetical biological mechanism."


  1. ^ "The Lasker Foundation - 1999 Winners". Lasker Foundation. Archived from the original on 2007-04-26. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  2. ^ "Bristol-Myers Squibb Scientists Named `Heroes of Chemistry'; David Cushman & Miguel Ondetti Honored by American Chemical Society". Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. Retrieved 2007-04-11.