Amidst the threat of growing resistance of superbugs to available antibiotics worldwide, a crisis which scientists have warned in foreboding terms could push the world back to the pre-antibiotic era where people died of simple infections, there appears to be a flicker of hope after all, following the discovery of a medicine by a team under the leadership of a Ghanaian pharmacist and researcher.
The drug, omadacycline, which is set to hit the world market soon, was invented by Prof. Kwasi Adomako Ohemeng and his team and it’s assigned the United States (US) patent number 7,056,902.
Omadacycline was unveiled in October during an international conference of experts in the field of infectious disease as one of 10 new antibiotics in the global pipeline for resistant infections.
According to experts, omadacycline is the first-in-class aminomethylcycline which can overcome two main ways of bacteria resistance to tetracyclines: ribosomal protection and efflux pump.
The medicine will be released by a US-based company, Paratek Pharmaceuticals, where Prof. Ohemeng had served as an Executive Director of Medicinal Chemistry, and would likely be approved by the US FDA for the treatment of community-acquired bacterial infections by 2018.
Prof. Ohemeng is the current Dean for the Central Univeristy’s School of Pharmacy. He graduated with a Bachelor of Pharmacy (B.Pharm.) Honours degree from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in 1978.
He also served as Teaching Assistant at the Pharmaceutical Chemistry Department of KNUST’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences from 1979 to 1980. He then proceeded to Duquesne University Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he obtained his Ph.D. (Medicinal Chemistry) in 1984.
Whilst at Duquesne, he was awarded the Duquesne University Faculty Development Fellowship and also served as Teaching/Research Assistant in the Medicinal Chemistry department.
Upon completion, he was awarded the Burroughs-Wellcome fellowship from 1984 to 1987 to undertake a post-doctoral appointment in the Chemistry Department, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. USA
Prof. Ohemeng is a leading academic with considerable expertise in pharmaceutical research, university teaching, academic writing, with vast institutional management experience and close association with a number of international pharmaceutical entities.
He has over 30 years of experience working with several major drug manufacturers in the United States, rising to the position of Principal Pharmaceutical Scientist, at Johnson & Johnson, then to a group leader at Bristol Myers and Squibb. Prior to moving to Ghana, he was the Executive Director of Medicinal Chemistry, Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Boston Ma USA.
As a renowned expert in drug development, he has more than fifty (50) patents and over eighty-five publications and presentations to his credit. He was in charge of developing three new drugs for US-based pharmaceutical companies, Immtech International and Paratek Pharmaceuticals. Omadacycline and another invention of his, sarecycline, are both in phase 3 clinical development in the US.
In addition to being a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH), he also has professional affiliations with the American Chemical Society (Divisions of Organic and Medicinal Chemistry) and American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Credit: Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana