Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dr. George Njoroge named a Hero of Chemistry by American Chemical Society

Dr. F. George Njoroge George, a leading Kenyan Scientist based in the United States, has been inducted into the prestigious scientific ‘Hall of Fame’ as a 2012 Hero of Chemistry by the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society.
Dr. Njoroge alongside his colleagues, Dr. Ashok Arasappan, Dr. Stephane Bogen, Dr. Frank Bennet, and Dr. Srikanth Venkatraman were honored in a colorful ceremony held on August 19th in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The four developed a new Hepatitis C drug Victrelis® (Boceprevir) while working at the global pharmaceutical firm Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) labs.   

About Victrelis®
Approved back in May 2011, Victrelis® was the first oral hepatitis C virus protease inhibitor approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the most common and difficult-to-treat form of chronic hepatitis C. Chronic Hepatitis infects over 3 million people in the United States and 130-170 million around the world. The drug is approved in 43 countries and currently sold in 23 of them.

About Dr. F. George Njoroge
Dr. Njoroge is currently a Senior Research Fellow at Lilly. Previously, he was a Director in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at Merck Research Laboratories in Kenilworth, New Jersey where he oversaw chemistry program in infectious diseases platform. Through research leadership at Merck, an anti-HCV viral drug Victrelis® (Scientifically known as Boceprevir or SCH 503034) was discovered; this medicine was approved by FDA on May 13 2011 as the first-in-class therapy for HepC treatment and is currently in the market. Dr. Njoroge led his chemistry in the discovery of the second generation HCV protease inhibitor Narlaprevir ® that has  completed Phase IIb clinical trials and has now been licensed to a Russian company R-Pharma. He has also worked extensively in the oncology area, especially in the discovery of therapeutic agents that are geared towards intervention of signal trunsduction process in proliferating cells: this work led to discovery of Sarasar®, a farnesyl transferase inhibitor that is currently in Phase II for the treatment of Progeria.
Dr Njoroge attended Thika High school after his primary education at Kiawairia and Kamuchege primary schools. He accomplished his ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels in 1973 and 1975 respectively. After graduating from University of Nairobi, Kenya in first class honors, George completed his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio in 1985 and joined Schering Plough Research Institute (SPRI) in 1988. Dr. Njoroge’s research at SPRI has focused on the design and synthesis of orally bioavailable small molecules for treatment of viral diseases and cancer.
Dr. Njoroge has published extensively in professional journals on synthetic organic chemistry and drug design. Dr.Njoroge is an author or coauthor of more than 120 scientific publications and 78 US granted patents. In addition to the Heroes of Chemistry award, Dr Njoroge is a recipient of numerous other awards, including Emerald Award for Professional Achievement in Industry and Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award for emerging therapies. He is a current member of the American Chemical Society.

About the ACS Heroes of Chemistry
Established in 1966, the ACS Heroes of Chemistry program recognizes scientists whose work in various fields of chemistry and chemical engineering has led to the successive innovation and development of commercial products that benefit humankind. 
For more details on ACS Heroes of Chemistry, go to www.acs.org/heroes

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