Ionis Pharmaceuticals’ CEO, Dr. Stanley Crooke, Receives E. B. Hershberg Award from the American Chemical Society

Stanley T. Crooke, Ph.D., M.D., founder, CEO and chairman of the board of directors of Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., was awarded the E. B. Hershberg Award for important discoveries in medicinally active substances by the American Chemical Society, a society representing more than 150,000 scientists. The E. B. Hershberg Award recognizes Dr. Crooke’s achievements in leading the creation of an innovative, efficient drug discovery and development platform, antisense technology.  Dr. Crooke’s accomplishments were recognized at the society’s annual meeting on April 4, 2017 in San Francisco, California. To view the presentation that Dr. Crooke gave at the ceremony, click here.

“Dr. Crooke is the father of antisense technology, an ingenious therapeutic platform to address many serious diseases in ways that complement if not surpass other more conventional drug therapies,” said Stephen Hanessian, FRSC, O.C., professor of chemistry at the University of Montreal and internationally renowned in his field.  “Dr. Crooke’s vision, resolve, and creative genius in promoting and developing this new platform are now richly rewarded by the coveted E. B. Hershberg award, recognizing his stellar contributions to biomedical science with major health benefits to humankind.”

Dr. Crooke is a successful biotechnology entrepreneur and inventor.  During his tenure at Ionis, Dr. Crooke has led the scientific development of a new platform for drug discovery, antisense technology, and engineered the creation of one of the largest and most advanced pipeline of drugs in the biotechnology industry.  Currently, Ionis has more than three dozen drugs in its pipeline, including SPINRAZATM, which is approved in the U.S. for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy in pediatric and adult patients.  Furthermore, Dr. Crooke has achieved commercialization of the first two RNA-targeted drugs to reach the market.

“I am honored to have received this award and it is humbling to be recognized by this prestigious society.  In the course of my career, I have always focused my efforts on putting the patient first.  In keeping with that focus, I was privileged to lead the development efforts of more than 20 marketed drugs, which have served to improve the lives of patients around the world,” said Dr. Crooke.  “I have invested the last 27 and counting years of my career in founding and leading Ionis Pharmaceuticals to create and advance antisense technology.  Today, Ionis has three approved drugs, two Phase 3 drugs nearing commercialization and a large, diverse pipeline of almost forty innovative medicines.  All of these drugs have the potential to fundamentally change the course of a broad range of diseases.  The opportunity to have led the creation of a novel technology platform that is able to bring significant value to patients today and greater potential to bring even more value in the future has truly been a highlight of my career.”


Dr. Crooke is recognized as one the world’s foremost experts on antisense technology.  In addition to his responsibilities as the CEO and chairman of the board of directors at Ionis, he leads an active research lab focused on advancing antisense drug technology through the elucidation of its underlying molecular mechanisms.  His publications include over 450 scientific papers and he has edited 21 books.

Dr. Crooke started his industry career at Bristol Laboratories where he helped to establish the anticancer drug discovery and development program and played a key role in bringing to market a significant number of anticancer drugs.  Later, at SmithKline, he oversaw worldwide R&D, coordinated all research activities, including instruments and diagnostics, and was involved in commercializing numerous new drugs in broad therapeutic areas.  Dr. Crooke received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees and house staff training at Baylor College of Medicine and has been an active scientist throughout his career.

Dr. Crooke has also supported the creation and growth of a number of companies based on Ionis’ technology, including Akcea, Regulus, Ibis and others.  He has served as a board member of 22 biotechnology and scientific companies and is currently a member of the board of directors of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).  Dr. Crooke has been the recipient of numerous awards.  Most recently, he accepted the SCRIP Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes Dr. Crooke’s dedication to advancing science and medicine as a physician, a scientist, a leader and as a successful entrepreneur.  Nature Biotechnology named him as one of the most influential individuals in biotechnology.  He was awarded the Director of the Year Award from the Corporate Directors Forum; the Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Chemical Society (San Diego Chapter); the Helix Award, for the most important innovation in biotechnology by BIO, Stony Brook University and the Center for Biotechnology; and the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.  Dr. Crooke was also recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus at both Baylor College of Medicine and Butler University.