Michigan, Connecticut and Illinois chemists receive award for drug to combat antibiotic resistance

A team of chemists from Pfizer Inc. and Abbott Laboratories was honored June 17 by the world's largest scientific society for discovering and developing a potent drug to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria. They received one of two 2003 Industrial Innovation Awards at the American Chemical Society's Northeast regional meeting in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

The new drug, called linezolid (Zyvox®), is the first of any new class of antibacterial agents to reach market in 35 years. The discovery and development of linezolid was the culmination of more than 12 years of research at Pharmacia and Upjohn. The drug works by preventing bacteria from making the proteins they need to grow and reproduce a manner different than all other antibiotics.

Linezolid is approved for use against serious Gram-positive infections that do not respond to conventional antibiotics, including Streptococcus pneumoniae, the problematic methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium. The drug can be administered orally or intravenously.

The American Chemical Society's Industrial Innovation Awards recognize individuals and teams whose discoveries and inventions contribute to the commercial success of their companies and enhance our quality of life.

The members of the research team who received the award are:

Steven Brickner, Ph.D., a research advisor at Pfizer Inc. He received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1976 and a master's degree and doctorate in organic chemistry from Cornell University in 1978 and 1981. He resides in Ledyard, Conn.

Michael Barbachyn, Ph.D., associate director of medicinal chemistry at Pfizer Inc. He received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1979 and a doctorate in organic chemistry from Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich., in 1983. He resides in Kalamazoo,

Contact: Sharon Worthy
American Chemical Society

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