Brummel Chair and Professor of Organic Chemistry, Calvin College, and Independent Consultant at Barbachyn Consulting, LLC
Mike Barbachyn, Ph.D., received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry under the direction of Professor Carl R. Johnson at Wayne State University, with a focus on asymmetric synthetic transformations involving enantiomerically enriched organosulfur reagents. He then completed a NIH Postdoctoral Fellow stint in the laboratory of Professor Samuel Danishefsky, then at Yale University. The focus of his postdoctoral work was on cyclocondensation reactions between aldehydes and dienes to furnish C-C linked disaccharides, eventually leading to a synthesis of the antibiotic tunicaminyl uracil. Mike initiated his 27-year career in the pharmaceutical industry by joining The Upjohn Company in 1985 and conducting medicinal chemistry research in the antibacterial agent area. His early efforts were focused on monocyclic beta-lactam antibiotics, exemplified by the monobactam aztreonam, and culminated in the identification of a pre-clinical drug candidate, U-78608, a potent antipseudomonal monocarbam incorporating a siderophore-mimicking side chain. This compound was the direct progenitor for Pfizer’s recent MC-1 monocarbam series. He continued to work on a variety of antibacterial agent classes, including the fluoroquinolones and oxazolidinones. A number of compounds from both of these classes were ultimately identified as pre-clinical drug candidates, with several oxazolidinone analogs eventually progressing to human clinical trials. For example, he co-invented the clinical oxazolidinones eperezolid (PNU-100592, the first oxazolidinone to successfully complete Phase 1 trials), linezolid (PNU-100766, approved by the FDA and marketed in 2000 as Zyvox™), PNU-141659 (Phase 1), PNU-288034 (Phase 1), and sutezolid (PNU-100480, currently in Phase 2 clinical trials for TB therapy). Over the course of his industrial career he also engaged in research involving a number of other novel pre-clinical classes of antibacterials, arising from either target-based or phenotypic screening. During the course of his stay in Kalamazoo his employer’s name changed, the result of a series of mergers, first to Pharmacia & Upjohn, then Pharmacia, and finally Pfizer. In 2003 he moved to the Pfizer site in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he continued to actively work in the antibacterial area for another 4 years. Upon Pfizer’s closure of the Ann Arbor research site, he joined the infection group at AstraZeneca, in Waltham, Massachusetts, where his focus was again on anti-infective discovery and development over a 5-year period.
In 2012 he formed his own consulting practice, Barbachyn Consulting, LLC, and also joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he is the Brummel Chair in Organic Chemistry. His research efforts there are currently aimed at developing new synthetic methodology that can be applied to the preparation of novel antibacterial agents. He remains active in the anti-infective community, regularly serving on NIH Drug Discovery and Mechanisms of Antimicrobial Resistance (DDR) Study Sections.
In recognition of his drug discovery success, he has received the Upjohn Award (2001), the American Chemical Society (ACS) Regional Industrial Innovation Award (2003), the ACS National Award for Team Innovation (2007), and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Discoverers Award (2007). He is an inventor on 39 issued U.S. Patents and has published 45 papers & chapters in the chemistry and anti-infective fields.