Bruce Merrifield, whose greatly accelerated process for making proteins helped develop an array of medications and earned him the 1984 Nobel Prize in chemistry, has died. He was 84. Merrifield died at his Bergen County, NJ home on May 14 after a long illness, family members said Friday. In the early 1960s, Merrifield developed a rapid, automated system for making peptides, the building blocks of proteins. Proteins are key components of all living organisms, and Merrifield's innovation allowed researchers to make peptides and proteins in a matter of days, rather than years, according to The Rockefeller University in Manhattan, where he worked.