Joseph S. Harun, 86, of Lower Gwynedd, a physician who helped develop new drugs, died Tuesday, May 17, of heart failure at his home.

Dr. Harun opened a dermatology practice in Philadelphia in 1957. Several years later, he left the practice to follow a dream of being involved in the discovery of new medicines.

He joined Carter-Wallace, a pharmaceutical firm, where he helped develop penicillamine to treat severe arthritis. In the late 1960s, he joined Ciba-Geigy, where he was involved with the development of new uses for clofazimine. Ciba-Geigy researchers ultimately discovered that the drug, intended for the treatment of tuberculosis, could be used in combination with other drugs to treat leprosy and infections in AIDS patients.

In the 1970s, Dr. Harun returned to Carter-Wallace and became vice president for scientific affairs. From the mid-1990s until retiring in 2000, he was a consultant to pharmaceutical companies and helped organize funding for AIDS research at the Duke and Johns Hopkins Universities Medical Schools and at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. He was a former member of the New Jersey Scientific Advisory Committee.

Dr. Harun grew up in Shenandoah, Pa. When he was 7, his father, a Polish immigrant, died in a coal-mine collapse, leaving his wife to care for seven children. Dr. Harun worked in a grocery store and had other jobs while in high school.

During World War II, he served as a surgical technician and medic in North Africa and the Middle East.

After his discharge, he graduated from St. Joseph's Hospital Nursing School in Philadelphia; earned a bachelor's degree from Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Md.; and earned a medical degree from Jefferson Medical College. He completed a residency in dermatology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

He married Germaine Marvel, a nurse, in 1952.

Dr. Harun enjoyed golf, and was a fan of Phillies baseball and New York Giants football.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by daughters Adrianne and Nina; sons Kevin, Thomas, and Christopher; and six grandchildren.

A Funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 21, at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, 16 S. Spring Garden St., Ambler. Friends may call from 9 a.m.

Donations may be made to Monastery of St. Clare, 1271 Langhorne Newtown Rd., Langhorne, Pa. 19047.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.