Kenyan scientist in US inducted into the coveted scientific “Hall of Fame”, gets a Hero of Chemistry Award
Dr. GeorgeNjoroge, a Kenyan scientist in the USA who has been recognized with a Heroes of Chemistry Award for his role in the discovery of the Hepatitis C treating medication, Victrelis®. The drug was approved by the Foods and Drugs Administration(FDA). It is currently approved in 43 countries and has launched in 23 of those markets, earning Merck, the pharmaceutical that powered the research about $126 million, according to second-quarter earnings report.
Press Conference Video
By Harrison Maina, AjabuAfrica.com, Posted Aug 29, 2012
PHILADELPHIA, PA_ the Kenyan scientist who discovered the Victrelis® medication to treat Hepatitis C, Dr. George Njoroge has been inducted in the America chemistry hall of fame and awarded the Heroes of Chemistry Award by the American Chemical Association (ACS).
Dr. Njoroge together with a team of 4 other scientists who worked with him to come up with the new medication were recognized by the world’s largest scientific body during the 244th ACS National Meeting & Exposition ceremony held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia last Saturday, August 19.
The discovery took place when the researchers led by the Kenyan were working for Merck laboratories, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies at their labs in Kenilworth, N.J.
Among those who worked with Dr. Njoroge on the project were Srikanth Venkatraman, Stephane Bogen, Frank Bennett and Ashok Arasappan.
However, following the amazing discovery, Dr. Njoroge has since moved to Eli Lilly and Company, another giant pharmaceutical to advance his endeavors.
According to the ACS website, the award "has recognized chemical scientists whose work in various fields of chemistry and chemical engineering has led to the successful innovation and development of commercial products based on chemistry. The Heroes of Chemistry program highlights the vital role of industrial chemical scientists and their companies in improving human welfare through successful commercial innovations and products. It presents an ideal opportunity to enhance the public image of the chemical and allied industries."
The Victrelis® drug (The chemical name is Boceprevir) is the first oral drug for the most common and difficult-to-treat form of chronic hepatitis C, which infects more than 4 million people in the United States.
In its 2011 report, the World Health Organization said that hepatitis C virus affects 130 million to 170 million people worldwide - about four times the number with HIV/AIDS - and kills about 350,000 people a year because of damage to the liver.
Second-quarter earnings reports from Merck indicate the new drug earned the company $126 million. It is approved in 43 countries and has launched in 23 of those markets, Merck said.
“I feel much honored to receive this award. It makes me feel great to be able to save lives and alleviate sufferings for millions of people around the world who suffer from Hepatitis C,” said Dr. Njoroge during a telephone interview with AjabuAfrica.com from his new home in Indianapolis where he moved to from New Jersey to work with Eli Lilly and Company.
He also said that he hoped that his achievement will encourage other young Kenyan and African children in schools to see that hard work pays off, both for the individual and the community at large.
The Kenyan led discovery now ranks among the most significant discoveries by a native of the African continent of all time.
According to recorded history, other major discoveries by African natives that have advanced the modern human civilization include the discovery of medicine, calculation of time, and the discovery of modern writing that took place in the Nile Valley in Egypt where ancient man's civilization started thousands of years ago.
Dr. Njoroge also received the 2011 Ajabu African Awards Person of the Year Award for his outstanding achievement by an African in the Diaspora in recent times.
The discovery and induction into the scientific “Hall of Fame” by the Kenyan native is bound to energize other Kenyans an Africans in the Diaspora to strive to excel in other fields that are involved in, both academic, business, career and other areas.
Together with Dr. Njoroge and his team, several other scientists were also honored with the 2012 Heroes of Chemistry Award.
According to newsise.com, scientists from Novartis, the global pharmaceutical company, won the honor for developing the leukemia drug Tasigna® (nilotinib). They are Paul Manley, Ph.D.; Gabriele Fendrich, Ph.D.; Werner Breitenstein, Ph.D.; and Sandra Jacob, Ph.D. Tasigna® is a prescription medication for adults with newly diagnosed form of Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia and for patients who are resistant or intolerant to previous treatment.
Scientists from Arkema, Inc., a global producer of industrial chemicals won the honor for developing atmospheric pressure chemical vapor deposition technology. They are Dave Russo, Ph.D.; Jeff Stricker, Ph.D.; Georg Lindner; Jeremy Nihart; Ryan Smith, Ph.D.; Connie Lo; Jing Ming Mai; and Clem McKown. The technology deposits coatings of various chemicals onto the surface of glass, providing significantly increased solar heat gain control.
“Heroes of Chemistry are a visible reminder of the innovation, vitality and talent that our profession offers to society,” said Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, Ph.D., ACS president. “Chemistry serves as the foundation for so many aspects of our lives. Chemistry is new products, new materials and a new hope for the future.
“We are honoring innovations that result from the support and vision of corporate management who invest in science, understand its application and advocate for it within their organizations. The corporate leaders at Arkema, Merck and Novartis have demonstrated the commitment that leads to breakthrough products and groundbreaking technologies. I salute each of these companies for creating the internal environment — the culture that leads to scientific discovery and commercialization.”
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 164,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.
Drs A. Arasappan, F. Bennnett, F. G. Njoroge, S. Venkatraman and Stephane Bogen
3Drs. F. G. Njoroge, S. Bogen, S. Venkatraman, A. Arasappan, and F. Bennett