Mick Hitchcock, a longtime supporter of the University and a groundbreaking researcher whose work along with Bristol-Myers Squibb colleague John Martin helped to revolutionize HIV treatment, will be honored during Friday evening's Commencement ceremony with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, President Marc Johnson announced.
Hitchcock received his undergraduate and master's degrees in biochemistry at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology and his Ph.D. in microbiology at the University of Melbourne. He worked for more than a decade at Bristol-Myers Squibb before joining Gilead, a bio-pharmaceutical company in the Bay Area that advances therapeutics to improve lives.
At Gilead, together with former Bristol colleague Martin, he developed Viread, approved by the FDA in 2001 as a once-daily pill to treat HIV. Before Viread, a reported 90 percent of AIDS patients had to take as many as a dozen pills throughout the day, suffering side effects including gauntness, anemia and liver damage. Hitchcock and Martin developed Atripla, approved in 2006 as the first single-tablet regimen for treatment of HIV that includes the active component of Viread and two other drugs. Ease of use made it a popular choice for physicians and patients. More recently, the company launched Sovaldi and Harvoni, Hepatitis C treatments that can essentially cure most patients with few side effects.
Hitchcock has substantially supported a wide range of projects at Nevada, including renovation of the undergraduate microbiology teaching lab, equipment for the Nevada Newborn Screening Lab and support of the Chemical Ecology Center. He has also provided funding for graduate assistantships, and for equipment for the Genomics Center and the Nevada Proteomics Center which will facilitate research across multiple disciplines and programs. In 2014, Hitchcock established the Mick Hitchcock, Ph.D. Endowed Chair in Medical Biochemistry.
Hitchcock was named a University of Nevada, Reno Foundation Trustee in 2015 where he serves on the Planning and Governance Board and the Audit and Finance Committee. He has been recognized for his philanthropy in the University's Honor Court where he was inducted as a Founder in 2014 and a Philanthropist in 2015.