Ghanaian chemical scientist, Professor Kwasi Adomako Ohemeng, receives American Society’s highest honour

Professor Kwasi Adomako Ohemeng, the Dean of the School of Pharmacy, Central University, has been honoured by the American Chemical Society for his contributions to the development of industrial chemistry and for discoveries of medicines that impact the welfare of society.

He is among a team of 16 scientists from Paratek Pharmaceuticals whose work for the development of the FDA-approved antibiotic drugs Nuzyra (omadacycline) and Seysara (sarecycline) was recognised and adorned with the Heroes of Chemistry award.

Nuzyra is used to treat adults with community-acquired bacterial pneumonia and bacterial skin infections. Seysara is used to treat moderate to severe acne.

Prof Ohemeng was the head of the Medicinal Chemistry section of Paratek and helped design the drugs together with the team made up of chemists, doctors, pharmaceutics and pharmacologists.

The award is the highest honour for industrial chemical scientists and highlights teams responsible for creation of innovative and impactful products based on chemistry and chemical engineering and is intended to show how human welfare is improved by industrial chemical scientists and their companies.

Commenting on the awards by the 160,000 strong professional association, Professor Ohemeng said he felt very honoured for his involvement in having two recognised drugs on the market.

“My view is that God sent us into this world and when there are challenges we must help solve them and I hope we can use this knowledge to solve the several problems going on in Ghana,” he said.

He called for a radical shift in the Ghanaian society to encourage and recognise people who make sterling contributions in solving societal challenges.

“It’s high time we celebrated and relived the moments of rare human beings of Ghanaian origin, who have not only impacted the world positively but rather injected passion into what they do best,” Prof Ohemeng said.

The Heroes of Chemistry was first awarded in 1996. The award has evolved over time. In early years, many individuals were named based on a body of work. More recently, the award has been granted to development teams responsible for commercialized products.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a scientific society based in the United States that supports scientific inquiry in the field of chemistry. Founded in 1876 at New York University, the ACS currently has nearly 157,000 members at all degree levels and in all fields of chemistry, chemical engineering, and related fields.

Prof. Ohemeng returned to Ghana in 2006 and founded Equatorial Healthcare Services Ltd with the main objective of producing products for the prevention and treatment of Tropical African Diseases. His areas of focus are Healthcare, Agriculture and Cosmetics.

The company has produced full range of hospital disinfectants and the only local manufacturer of the company producing organic Pyrethrin based Agro Chemicals and Cosmetics suited for the Africa market.

Prof. Ohemeng is the current Dean of the School of Pharmacy of Central University.

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