Dr. Chris H. Senanayake was born in Sri Lanka and received a BS degree (First Class) in Sri Lanka. After coming to the United States, he completed his MS at Bowling Green State University with Professor Thomas Kinstle in synthetic chemistry. He obtained his Ph.D. under the guidance of Professor James H. Rigby at Wayne State University in 1987 where he worked on the total synthesis of complex natural products, such as ophiobolanes, and completed the first total synthesis of grosshemin in the guaianolide family. He then undertook a postdoctoral fellow with Professor Carl R. Johnson and worked on the total synthesis of polyol systems such as amphotericin B and compactin analogous, and the synthesis of C-nucleoside precursors.
In 1989, he joined the Department of Process Development at Dow Chemical Co. In 1990, he joined the Merck Process Research Group. After 6 years at Merck, he accepted a position at Sepracor, Inc. in 1996 where he was promoted to Executive Director of Chemical Process Research. In 2002, he joined Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He served 15 years as the Vice President of Chemical Development at BI and led a group of highly talented scientists, engineers, and administrative staff located in Ridgefield, CT. In 2018, he joined AstaTech (Chengdu) BioPharmaceutical Corporation as the Chief Executive Officer where he oversees all subsidiaries and founded AstaGreen Chem Inc., in Richmond, VA where he became CEO. In October 2019, he became the Chief Scientific Officer of TCG Lifesciences Pvt. Ltd. and founded TCG GreenChem Inc, in the US where he also became CEO. He was appointed President of AstaTech (Chengdu) BioPharmaceutical Corporation. Dr. Senanayake’s research interests focus on the development of new asymmetric methods for the synthesis of bioactive molecules and heterocycles and on catalytic, enzymatic, and mechanistic studies. He has published and lectured in the area of practical asymmetric synthesis and many disciplines of organic chemistry how to develop drugs on an economical, greener and practical manner in large-scale operation for rapid development of drugs. He is the co-author of >500 papers, patents, book chapters and review articles, and more than 115 patents in many areas of synthetic organic chemistry, drug development, and design of improved chemical entities. Dr. Senanayake participated in many drug development activities including, Crixivan, Lunesta, Jardiance, R, R Formotorol, Desvenlafaxine, HCV and many other drug candidates.
Dr. Senanayake demonstrates the ability to define and optimize chemical research and development strategies and tactics. He is able to “connect the dots” between the purely scientific and commercial perspectives and set up creative and effective strategies for new and proprietary products in ways that build value for the organization and create a competitive advantage. He is an Editorial Advisory Board Member of the Organic Process Research & Development Journal. In 2008, he was the chairperson of Stereochemistry Gordon Research Conference. In 2010, he received the prestigious Siegfried Gold Medal Award for development of practical processes for APIs and Process Chemistry. In 2011, He was appointed as an Editorial Board Member of the Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis Journal. In 2012, he was appointed as an Advisory Board Member of the Asian Journal of Organic Chemistry. In 2013, he was appointed as a Board of Editors Member for Organic Syntheses. In 2016, he joined as an IQ Board Member. In November 2017, he was appointed as an Advisory Board Member of Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry. In 2017, he was appointed as the Board of Director of CURE (connecting Connecticut’s science community). In 2020, he was invited give the Behringer Simon Lecture at ETH on Sustainable Manufacturing Processes for APIs. He was appointed as an Adjunct Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and also appointed a Prestigious Research Professorship at University of Toledo.