Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and Karl Barry Sharpless won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The award recipients were announced Wednesday at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. They received the honor “for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry.”
Barry Sharpless and Morten Meldal “have laid the foundation for a functional form of chemistry – click chemistry – in which molecular building blocks snap together quickly and efficiently,” the Nobel Prize wrote on Twitter.
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On its official website, the committee wrote that Sharpless and Meldal “share the prize with Carolyn Bertozzi, who took click chemistry to a new dimension and began using it to map cells. Her bioorthogonal reactions are now contributing to more targeted cancer treatments, among many other applications.”
Last year, Benjamin List and David MacMillan were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Sharpless is now the fifth individual to be awarded two Nobel Prizes. Other Nobel laureates who have also won the award more than once are John Bardeen, Marie Skłodowska Curie, Linus Pauling and Frederick Sanger.
“This year’s Prize in Chemistry deals with not overcomplicating matters, instead working with what is easy and simple. Functional molecules can be built even by taking a straightforward route,” Johan Åqvist, Chair of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry, said in a press release.
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The committee said that Sharpless started the ball rolling around 2000 when he coined the concept of click chemistry. In this, reactions occur quickly and unwanted by-products are avoided.
Later, Meldal and Sharpless presented what is now the crown jewel of click chemistry.
The prizes carry a cash award of 10 million Swedish kronor (nearly $900,000) and will be handed out on December 10. The money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.