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General News Fri, 16 Nov 2001

Ghanaian Named Lead Optimization Chemist at Partek

BOSTON, Nov. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced the appointment of Kwasi Ohemeng, Ph.D. as Director of Lead Optimization Chemistry today. Prior to joining Paratek, Dr. Ohemeng served as Group Leader with Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute. "At an opportune time, Dr. Ohemeng brings to Paratek more than a decade of medicinal chemistry experience, expertise and leadership, particularly in anti-infective discovery and development," according to Paratek's Vice President of Research & Development, Dr. Ken Tanaka.

"Paratek's medicinal chemistry effort has generated a large and growing library of promising compounds just waiting to be mined for a number of different therapeutic areas, and Kwasi can help us to accelerate the process by which we optimize leads," Tanaka said. "In particular, now more than ever, the industry needs to quickly develop novel therapies to address antibiotic resistance, and Kwasi's experience will help us do that."

Dr. Ohemeng has worked in drug discovery research for 14 years, for the R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Burroughs Wellcome Co., and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, and most recently with the Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute. Ohemeng earned his doctorate in medicinal chemistry from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and his bachelor's in pharmacy from the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana.

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"I find the early stages of drug development to be both challenging and gratifying," says Dr. Ohemeng. "Generating good lead candidates ultimately makes the drug development process more effective, which means that we can develop new drugs to help more people with less time and fewer resources."

As lead optimization techniques become more sophisticated, researchers are better able to identify drugs that can proceed through clinical studies and make it to market as effective treatments. Optimization chemists look at compounds' properties to determine stability, activity and safety. They work with research teams to manipulate the compounds chemically, to design drugs that can treat illness without harming the patient and that can be reliably produced to meet the medical needs. With Paratek's sophisticated understanding of tetracyclines, the tetracyclines' generally mild side effect profile and top notch lead optimization skills like those of Dr. Ohemeng, Paratek hopes to bring novel tetracyclines to the market in the near term.

Paratek is a privately-held specialty pharmaceuticals company, headquartered in Boston, Mass., which is engaged in the discovery and commercialization of novel therapeutics that treat life-threatening infectious disease agents, particularly those that have become resistant to existing antibiotic treatments. Paratek was founded in 1996 by Dr. Stuart B. Levy, Professor of Molecular Biology and Microbiology and of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, and by Dr. Walter Gilbert, the Nobel Prize- winning Professor at Harvard University. Paratek was created to harness the 20 years of research and discovery in mechanisms of antibiotic resistance and tetracycline chemistry by Dr. Levy and his scientific team at Tufts University School of Medicine. In 1999, the Company announced a research collaboration with Glaxo Wellcome plc (now GlaxoSmithKline plc) for the development of new anti-infective products.

Source: PRNewswire
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