The national Hepatitis B Foundation will present the prestigious "Distinguished Scientist Award 2006" to Raymond F. Schinazi, PhD, professor of pediatrics and director of the Laboratory of Biochemical Pharmacology at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Schinazi is being honored with the foundation's highest scientific award in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the science and discovery of new drugs for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B and his strong commitment to finding a cure for this chronic liver disease.
The award ceremony will be held at the Crystal Ball gala on Saturday, March 25 in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Past recipients of the foundation's distinguished awards include The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Nobel Laureate Baruch S. Blumberg, who discovered the hepatitis B virus.
"The Hepatitis B Foundation is proud to recognize the accomplishments and commitment of Dr. Raymond Schinazi, whose work is bringing hope to the 400 million people living with chronic hepatitis B worldwide--a liver disease that infects silently and can progress to fatal cirrhosis and/or liver cancer," said Timothy M. Block, PhD, president of the Hepatitis B Foundation. "It is estimated that as many as 70 percent of all people treated for HIV and HBV have been treated with a drug discovered all or in part by Dr. Schinazi, a record not equaled by any other university scientist."
Dr. Schinazi has been involved in the discovery and development of a number of significant and highly successful anti-HIV and anti-hepatitis B virus compounds that have been among the most potent and lifesaving tools against these viruses. Six of his drug discoveries are now approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or are at various stages of clinical development. His research in collaboration with Dr. Dennis C. Liotta led to the discovery of Lamivudine (also known as 3TC), one of the most widely used anti-HBV and anti-HIV agents. His work also has resulted in the formation of several startup biotechnology companies that focus on HIV and hepatitis therapies, including Triangle Pharmaceuticals (subsequently purchased by Gilead Sciences), Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., Pharmasset, Inc., in Princeton, NJ, and most recently RFS Pharma LLC in Atlanta, Ga.
Dr. Schinazi has published extensively on numerous anti-HBV compounds including telbivudine, clevudine, racivir, amdoxovir, and emtricitabine, anti-HBV drugs that are now in advanced clinical trials. A New Drug Application has been submitted by Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc., for telbivudine and it is expected to be approved by the FDA later this year. These drugs should provide additional treatment options for individuals infected with HBV, including combination chemotherapy, and could prevent or delay the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a leading cause of liver disease and transplants. Lamivudine was shown in animal models and also in humans to delay the development of HCC (NEJM 351:1521-31, 2004).
Dr. Schinazi has published more than 400 peer-reviewed papers and authored three books on viral hepatitis. These include Therapies for Viral Hepatitis (International Medical Press 1998), Frontiers in Viral Hepatitis (Elsevier 2003), and most recently Framing the Knowledge of Therapeutics for Viral Hepatitis (IHL Press 2006). He is the founder of the highly successful HepDART series of international meetings, now in its tenth year.
Dr. Schinazi also is senior research career scientist at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center and affiliate scientist at Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He is the virology/pharmacology core co-director for the Emory Center for AIDS Research (CFAR).