Stephanie E. Barrett, Ph.D.

Emerging Leader

Stephanie E. Barrett, Ph.D, .Emerging Leader, Headshot,

Stephanie E. Barrett, Ph.D.

Merck & Co. Inc.

For significant contributions to drug developments that save and improve lives; for clear vision and leadership that inspire collaboration; and for personal dedication to women in science and engineering.

Stephanie E. Barrett, Ph.D., is director of sterile and specialty products at Merck & Co. Inc. Dr. Barrett is one of the company’s leading experts in polymer and bioconjugate chemistry for enabled delivery of small molecule and macromolecular drugs, having made influential contributions to the discovery of novel polymer conjugates for siRNA therapeutics, polymer excipients for oral dosage forms, and polymer-based, long-acting injectables. She currently leads the team responsible for designing Merck’s next generation of long-acting implant and injectable products — with potential applications in HIV and other infectious diseases.

Dr. Barrett has taken on roles of increasing responsibility within Merck and the infectious disease portfolio as the pharmaceutical sciences HIV therapeutic area lead, and co-lead for the early development team in HIV. In these roles, she leads multiple cross-functional teams responsible for the design of Merck’s pipeline of long-acting implant and injectable products through preclinical to late-stage development. For her technical and leadership achievements, Dr. Barrett was recently recognized by Business Insider as one of the 30 under 40 biotech leaders shaping the future of medicine.

Most recently, Dr. Barrett led the pharmaceutical sciences team that evaluated the injectable combination of one of Merck’s drugs for HIV in combination with a partner. The outcome of this work was a collaboration between the two pharmaceutical companies focused on oral and injectable formulations as potentially complementary medicines in late-stage development, with the goal to provide innovative, long-acting treatments in HIV.

Dedicated to serving her community, Dr. Barrett contributes extensively to professional organizations. She is currently the co-lead of the Industry Foresight Council, which is part of the Controlled Release Society. She also serves as co-chair of the long-acting injectables working group, part of the International Consortium for Innovation and Quality in Pharmaceutical Development. An active member of Merck’s Women in Science, she initiated, championed, and co-organized Merck’s Women in Science Symposium, now in its sixth year.

Dr. Barrett has contributed to 26 publications and holds 10 patents. Among her many honors is the George W. Merck Leadership Award and the company’s Maurice Hilleman Exemplary Publication Award, both in 2018.

Outside of Merck, she devotes time to various organizations, including the Yale Women Leadership Conference, the Rutgers University Douglass Residential College (which is specifically for women), and the Pennsylvania Conference for Women. Whenever possible, she speaks to students of all ages about her career journey, her position as a woman in biopharmaceutics, and her current research and its expected impact.

Dr. Barrett received her B.S. in chemistry from McMaster University and her Ph.D. in chemistry from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she advanced PRINT technology, a novel method for the fabrication of particles on the order of tens of nanometers to several microns. In her free time, she loves to travel and spend time with her family, and go running with the family dog, Buster.

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