In this Proud to Publish series editors introduce books they were most proud to publish, commission or work on in the past year. In this issue, Sofia Costa, Associate Editor Chemistry and Tanja Weyandt, Associate Editor Biomedicine & Life Sciences talk to us about the book they are most proud to have published in 2020 and what makes the book stand out.
We are most proud to have published HCV: The Journey from Discovery to a Cure, Volume I and Volume II. It wasn’t difficult to choose the book which I am most proud of in my program this year, especially this year, and I guess Tanja felt the same.
Not only because the book is undoubtedly a unique reference and an important contribution to the scientific community, with an amazing story on the discovery of the Hepatitis C Virus, the invention of breakthrough medicines and their use in the real world to cure patients, but also because this was the year I came back from my maternity leave, where I had Tanja covering my position (and doing a great work while I was away!). So, the story of this book is not only about science but also about the strong collaboration between two publishing editors from the Chemistry and Life Sciences book teams.
How did this book evolve?
The idea for this book started 4 years ago when one of the Series Editors of Topics in Medicinal Chemistry suggested contacting Michael J. Sofia, the CSO and co-founder at Arbutus Biopharma, Inc., and the principle inventor of sofosbuvir (Sovaldiâ and Harvoniâ), currently marketed as a treatment for the cure of HCV infection. I immediately contacted Mike about this book project, and I surprisingly received a positive response for a follow-up call about it. Coming from a scientific background, the opportunity to collaborate with Mike in this project was such a huge honour for me, and I won’t ever forget the feeling I had after the first follow-up call with him.
At the end of 2017, the book outline was set and we finally signed the contract. The authors started writing their chapters in 2018, and while I was on maternity leave in 2019, Tanja handled the manuscript finalization and production phase.
As the series is eager to get indexed in PubMed, all manuscripts need to be checked for a section on ‘Compliance with Ethical Standards’. The Volume Editor was very patient and understanding that we needed some extra time guaranteeing the quality of his book. This is a good example of how a trustful Editor relationship provides the foundation for a successful book project.
What happened since the book was published?
Recently, in October, we were very excited to learn that the Nobel Prize 2020 in Physiology/ Medicine has been awarded for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus! Our HCV books have not only been very timely but they also highlight one of the most unique accomplishments in biomedical research. Moreover, the 3 laureates have actually contributed to 3 chapters: you can check out my LinkedIn post celebrating this accomplishment here.
Taken together, in our role as publishing editors, we are working on the edge of time aiming to support researchers addressing grand challenges. We are both very happy and proud of this book publication! Having worked very closely in the past, we continue to meet regularly exchanging ideas, challenges and all sorts of experiences we are facing in our Chemistry Books or Biomedicine Books life. This collaboration across units has been truly enriching and we actually see a lot of topics we can approach together.
About the author
Michael J. Sofia, Ph.D. is Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Arbutus Biopharma, Inc. where he established the programs in HBV-cure and coronaviruse therapeutics. During his career he has introduced numerous drugs into clinical development for both infectious diseases and inflammatory diseases. He was responsible for the discovery and early development of sofosbuvir, which became the backbone of many HCV curative therapies including Sovaldi®, Harvoni®, Epclusa® and Vosevi®. Mike has held research and research management positions at Gilead Sciences, Pharmasset, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Transcell Technologies and Eli Lilly and Company.
Mike received his BA in chemistry from Cornell University, his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois and was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University.
He has received numerous awards for his work on hepatitis C including the 2015 Economist Innovation Award, the 2015 ACS Heroes of Chemistry Award, 2016 IUPAC-Richter Prize, the 2016 Lasker-Debakey Award in Clinical Medical Research, the 2017 Gertrude Elion Award from the International Society for Antiviral Research, the 2018 IS3NA John Montgomery Award and the 2020 Cameron Prize for Therapeutics from the University of Edinburgh. In 2017 he was inducted into the American Chemical Society Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.