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Sunday, 31 July 2016

Elizabeth Bacon

Elizabeth Bacon
Senior Research Associate II at Gilead Sciences



Senior Research Associate II

Gilead Sciences
 – Present (7 months)

Senior Research Associate I

Gilead Sciences
 –  (5 years)

Research Associate

Gilead Sciences
 –  (3 years 8 months)


University of California, Santa Barbara

Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Chemistry

Marymount California University

Associate of Science (A.S.)
Activities and Societies: Phi Theta Kappa

California Academy of Mathematics and Science

High School Diploma


The Gilead team responsible for Harvoni: Front row, from left: John Link, Chris Yang, Rowchanak Pakdaman, Bob Scott, and Benjamin Graetz. Back row, from left: Erik Mogalian and Bruce Ross. Not pictured: Michael Sofia.
Credit: Gilead Sciences
Gilead’s Harvoni is a combination of two antiviral agents, sofosbuvir and ledipasvir. “In hepatitis C, the virus mutates so rapidly that to overcome resistance, we use a combination of drugs, and each one pulls their own weight in the process,” says John Link, who discovered ledipasvir.
Link says that the amount of interdisciplinary collaboration on the drug was unprecedented for the company. “Once ledipasvir was discovered, the process chemists were right there with us understanding the kinds of things we were doing, and medicinal chemists and process chemists worked on making material to scale for preclinical studies,” he says. “We all realized this was our moment to make a difference for patients with hepatitis C.”
Harvoni is the first once-a-day pill for treatment of chronic hepatitis C, and it has a cure rate in the U.S. of 94-99%. The drug is an alternative to injected interferon treatment, which has been associated with significant side effects.
“The high cure rates that we saw in our clinical trials are really amazing,” Link says. “Before we had these compounds, I had only hoped that we could equal something like interferon-type regimens in cure rates, without all the horrible side effects. To dramatically exceed them is important for patients.”
Harvoni patients can attest to the drug’s effectiveness. Mark Melancon, who had contracted hepatitis C 25 years ago, says that after taking Harvoni, he now has no trace of the virus in his body, and his liver is beginning to repair itself. “Four weeks into it, and the virus was gone. Not detectable,” he says. “To have this virus hanging over my head for 25 years and then it was just gone, I can’t explain the feeling. The people who worked hard on this medication, they need to know that I appreciate it.”

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