All Headline News
September 30, 2005 6:35 a.m. EST
Hector Duarte Jr. - All Headline News Staff Reporter
Trenton, NJ (AHN) - Leo Sternbach, the inventor of a string of tranquilizers that included Valium, dies at his North Carolina home at the age of 97.
Sternbach, an award-winning chemist who helped the Swiss maker Roche Group build its U.S. headquarters in Nutley, N.J., after fleeing the Nazis during World War II, dies in Chapel Hill, N.C., after a short illness late Wednesday.
Sternbach led development of more than a dozen important drugs during a sixty-year career with Roche. His other breakthroughs include sleeping pills Dalmane and Mogadon, Klonopin for epileptic seizures and Arfonad for limiting bleeding during brain surgery.
From 1969 to 1982, Valium was the country's most prescribed drug, nicknamed "Mother's Little Helper" after the Rolling Stones song. It was three times more potent than its predecessor, Librium.
Roche sold nearly 2.3 billion Valium pills during the drug's peak in 1978.