Mark P. Wentland

Professor Emeritus, Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Mark Wentland began his career in drug discovery in 1970 when he joined the medicinal chemistry department at Sterling Winthrop Inc.  During his 24 years at Sterling Winthrop, he held various scientific and administrative leadership positions and was also Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In 1994, he left Sterling-Winthrop and joined the chemistry faculty at Rensselaer as Professor of Chemistry.  Following his retirement from Rensselaer at the end of 2015, he was appointed to the position of Professor Emeritus. Since 1997, he holds the concurrent position of Adjunct Professor - Center for Neuropharmacology & Neuroscience at Albany Medical College.

Samidorphan -  Discovery of a Medication Currently in Late-stage Development:  At Rensselaer, Professor Wentland led several NIH-funded research programs in medicinal chemistry aimed at identifying novel, long-acting oral medications to treat cocaine use disorder.  This research yielded 22 issued US Patents and in four drugs entering clinical trials. One of these drugs, the highly potent mu opioid receptor antagonist samidorphan, has undergone extensive clinical testing sponsored by our licensing partner Alkermes, Inc.  ALKS 3831, an oral medication combining samidorphan with olanzapine, is currently in late-stage development. An NDA for ALKS 3831 was recently reviewed by two FDA Advisory Committees. These committees voted in support of ALKS 3831 for the treatment of both schizophrenia and bipolar I disorder. It is anticipated that an FDA decision on the ALKS 3831 NDA will be announced by June 1, 2021.


PhD: Rice University, 1970, Organic Chemistry

BS: Central Connecticut State College, 1966, Chemistry

Research Focus
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Drug Discovery
Select Works
  • For the first published account of the drug, samidorphan see: Wentland, M. P.; Lu, Q.; Lou, R.; Knapp, B. I.; Bidlack, J. M. "Synthesis and opioid receptor binding properties of a highly potent 4-hydroxy analogue of naltrexone." Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 2005, 15, 2107-2110.
  • Wentland, M. P.; Lou, R.; Lu, Q.; Bu, Y.; Denhardt, C.; Jin, J.; Ganorkar, R.; VanAlstine, M. A.; Guo, C.; Cohen, D. J.; Bidlack, J. M. "Syntheses of novel high affinity ligands for opioid receptors" Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 2009, 19, 2289–2294.
  • For a complete list of publications, see SciFinder or PubMed.