Satoshi Ōmura

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Satoshi Ōmura
Satoshi Omura 5040-2015.jpg
Satoshi Ōmura, Nobel Laureate in medicine in Stockholm December 2015
Born (1935-07-12) 12 July 1935 (age 84)
Alma mater University of Yamanashi (B.S.
Tokyo University of Science (M.S., Sc. D.)
University of Tokyo (Ph. D.)
Known for Avermectin and Ivermectin
Discoveries more than 480 new compounds
Awards Japan Academy Prize (1990)
Koch Gold Medal (1997)
Gairdner Global Health Award (2014)
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (2015)
Scientific career
Fields Biochemistry
Institutions Kitasato University
Wesleyan University
Academic advisors Koji Nakanishi
Max Tishler

Satoshi Ōmura [satoɕi oːmu͍ɽa] (大村 智, Ōmura Satoshi, born 12 July 1935) is a Japanese biochemist. He is known for the discovery and development of various pharmaceuticals originally occurring in microorganisms. In 2015, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with William C. Campbell and Tu Youyou.


Early life and education

Satoshi Ōmura was born in Nirasaki, Yamanashi, Japan, in 1935, the second son of Ōmura family. After graduating from the University of Yamanashi in 1958, he was appointed to science teacher at Tokyo Metropolitan Sumida Tech High School. In 1960, he became an auditor of Koji Nakanishi’s course at Tokyo University of Education, one year later, he enrolled in the Tokyo University of Science (TUS) and studied sciences. Ōmura received his M.S. degree from TUS and his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Tokyo (1968, a Dissertation PhD) and a Ph.D. in Chemistry at TUS (1970). [1]


Since 1965 Ōmura served at Kitasato Institute system. [2] From 1970 to 1990, he also became a part-time lecturer at Tokyo University of Science. [3]

In 1971, he was a visiting professor at Wesleyan University, [2] he consulted the chairman of the American Chemical Society, Max Tishler, at the a Canadian international conference. Finally, they succeeded in acquiring research expenses from Merck & Co. . [4]

Ōmura was considering continuing his research in the United States, but he ultimately decided to move back to Japan. In 1973, he became a director of the antibiotic laboratory at Kitasato University, [5] and he also started collaborative research with Merck & Co. . [6] In 1975, he became professor of Kitasato University School of Pharmacy. Meanwhile, the Ōmura laboratory raised many researchers and produced 31 university professors and 120 doctors.

At present date, Ōmura is professor emeritus at Kitasato University and Max Tishler Professor of Chemistry at Wesleyan University.


Satoshi Ōmura is known for the discovery and development of various pharmaceuticals originally occurring in microorganisms. He was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with William C. Campbell and Tu Youyou for discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites. More precisely, his research group isolated a strain of Streptomyces avermitilis that produce the anti-parasitical compound avermectin. Campbell later acquired these bacteria and developed the derived drug ivermectin that is today used against river blindness, lymphatic filariasis and other parasitic infections. [1] [7] [8]

Since 1970s, Ōmura discoveries more than 480 new compounds, there are 25 kinds of drugs and reagents in use, such as a specific inhibitor of protein kinase: staurosporine, a proteasome inhibitor: lactacystin, a fatty acid biosynthesis inhibitor: cerulenin, and andrastin, herbimycin, neoxaline, and so on, which have greatly contributed to the elucidation of life phenomena. Furthermore, compounds having a unique structure and biological activity discovered by Omura are drawing attention as lead compounds in drug discovery research, and new anticancer drugs and the like have been created.

A Children's statues leading to adults of onchocerciasis before Kitasato University buildings were produced by sculptors of Burkina Faso in honor of Ōmura's contributions of avermectin and ivermectin, a symbol of the campaign to eradicate onchocerciasis, [9] the similar life-sized Bronze statue is built in World Health Organization (WHO) Headquarters, Carter Center, Merck & Co., World Bank Headquarters, and Burkina Faso's World Health Organization Africa Onchocerciasis Control Program.

Social role

Ōmura served as deputy director and director at the Kitasato Institute, he was devoted to rebuild the laboratory and promoting the establishment of the medical center (now Kitasato University Medical Center). Meanwhile, he establishing a path to rebuilding of the corporate (school juridical person), it has integrated with the School corporation Kitasato Gakuen and has succeeded in establishing a new "School corporation Kitasato Institute". In addition, in the education field, he served as president of the School corporation Joshibi University of Art and Design twice, and served as the honorary school chief of the School corporation Kaichi Gakuen. [10] In 2007, he established the Nirasaki Omura Art Museum on his collection. [11]

Awards and honors

Satoshi Omura (left) and William C. Campbell (right) in Stockholm, December 2015. Satoshi Omura 4977-2015.jpg
Satoshi Ōmura (left) and William C. Campbell (right) in Stockholm, December 2015.

List of honorary doctorate: [16]

Learned societies membership


See also

Related Research Articles

Onchocerciasis Human helminthiasis

Onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness, is a disease caused by infection with the parasitic worm Onchocerca volvulus. Symptoms include severe itching, bumps under the skin, and blindness. It is the second-most common cause of blindness due to infection, after trachoma.

Filariasis Parasitic disease caused by a family of nematode worms

Filariasis is a parasitic disease caused by an infection with roundworms of the Filarioidea type. These are spread by blood-feeding insects such as black flies and mosquitoes. They belong to the group of diseases called helminthiases.

Satoshi is generally a masculine Japanese given name.

Ivermectin medication

Ivermectin is a medication used to treat many types of parasite infestations. This includes head lice, scabies, river blindness (onchocerciasis), strongyloidiasis, trichuriasis, ascariasis, and lymphatic filariasis. It can be taken by mouth or applied to the skin for external infestations. Use in the eyes should be avoided.

Tokyo University of Science university

Tokyo University of Science, formerly "Science University of Tokyo" or TUS, informally Rikadai (理科大) or simply Ridai (理大) is a private research university located in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan.

P. Roy Vagelos American businessman

Pindaros Roy Vagelos, better known as P. Roy Vagelos or Roy Vagelos, is an American physician and business executive, who was president and chief executive officer (1985) and chairman (1986) of the American pharmaceutical company Merck & Co.. He attracted research scientists who developed many major new drugs.


The avermectins are a series of drugs and pesticides used to treat parasitic worms and insect pests. They are a 16-membered macrocyclic lactone derivatives with potent anthelmintic and insecticidal properties. These naturally occurring compounds are generated as fermentation products by Streptomyces avermitilis, a soil actinomycete. Eight different avermectins were isolated in four pairs of homologue compounds, with a major (a-component) and minor (b-component) component usually in ratios of 80:20 to 90:10. Other anthelmintics derived from the avermectins include ivermectin, selamectin, doramectin, eprinomectin, moxidectin, and abamectin.

Koji Nakanishi Japanese chemist

Koji Nakanishi was a Japanese chemist who studied bioorganic chemistry and natural products. He served as Centennial Professor of Chemistry and chairman of the Chemistry Department at Columbia University.

Kitasato University Higher education institution in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan

Kitasato University is a private university in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. The head of the university is on the Shirokane campus, neighboring the original Kitasato Institute, the first private medical research facility in Japan which was the starting point for the university in its present form. Kitasato University is ranked by Times Higher Education among the 350 best universities in Asia.

Osamu Shimomura Japanese organic chemist and marine biologist

Osamu Shimomura was a Japanese organic chemist and marine biologist, and Professor Emeritus at Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts and Boston University School of Medicine. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008 for the discovery and development of green fluorescent protein (GFP) with two American scientists: Martin Chalfie of Columbia University and Roger Tsien of the University of California-San Diego.

Kitasato Shibasaburō Japanese scientist

Baron Kitasato Shibasaburō was a Japanese physician and bacteriologist. He is remembered as the co-discoverer of the infectious agent of bubonic plague in Hong Kong in 1894, almost simultaneously with Alexandre Yersin.

Emamectin chemical compound

Emamectin is the 4”-deoxy-4”-methylamino derivative of abamectin, a 16-membered macrocyclic lactone produced by the fermentation of the soil actinomycete Streptomyces avermitilis. It is generally prepared as the salt with benzoic acid, emamectin benzoate, which is a white or faintly yellow powder. Emamectin is widely used in the US and Canada as an insecticide because of its chloride channel activation properties.

Tu Youyou Chinese pharmaceutical chemist

Tu Youyou is a Chinese pharmaceutical chemist and malariologist. She discovered artemisinin and dihydroartemisinin, used to treat malaria, a breakthrough in twentieth-century tropical medicine, saving millions of lives in South China, Southeast Asia, Africa, and South America.

Streptomyces avermitilis is a bacterium species in the genus Streptomyces. This bacterium was discovered by Satoshi Ōmura in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan.

Yoshinori Ohsumi Japanese molecular biologist

Yoshinori Ohsumi is a Japanese cell biologist specializing in autophagy, the process that cells use to destroy and recycle cellular components. Ohsumi is a professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology's Institute of Innovative Research. He received the Kyoto Prize for Basic Sciences in 2012, the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and the 2017 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy.

Tasuku Honjo Japanese immunologist and Nobel laureate (born 1942)

Tasuku Honjo is a Japanese physician-scientist and immunologist. He shared the 2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology and is best known for his identification of programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1). He is also known for his molecular identification of cytokines: IL-4 and IL-5, as well as the discovery of activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) that is essential for class switch recombination and somatic hypermutation.

Uche Veronica Amazigo is a professor of Medical Parasitology and public health specialist. She is a fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science who was elected into the Academy's Fellowship at its Annual General Meeting held in January, 2015. In 2012, she won the Prince Mahidol Award for outstanding contributions to public health. She is best known for her research on onchocerciasis and her consequent contributions to the World Health Organization (WHO).

William C. Campbell (scientist) Irish biochemist

William Cecil Campbell is an Irish and American biologist and parasitologist known for his work in discovering a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworms, for which he was jointly awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He helped to discover a class of drugs called ivermectins, whose derivatives have been shown to have "extraordinary efficacy" in treating River blindness and Lymphatic filariasis, among other parasitic diseases affecting animals and humans. Campbell worked at the Merck Institute for Therapeutic Research 1957–1990, and is currently a research fellow emeritus at Drew University.

Japan Pharmaceutical Association

The Japan Pharmaceutical Association is the peak national professional association representing pharmacists in Japan. Pharmacists who join their prefectural and local municipality professional organisations automatically gain membership in the JPA. The association was founded on June 11, 1893 by Ogimachi Sanemasa.


  1. 1 2 "Satoshi Omura PhD" . Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  2. 1 2 大村智北里研究所顧問・北里大学名誉教授が文化功労者に 北里大学 2012年11月1日
  3. [from ストックホルム「これからは人材の育成に努力します」大村先生が語った受賞後の活動]TUSToday 2015.12.18
  4. 「人間発見」日本経済新聞2010年7月14日
  5. 「【ノーベル賞受賞】大村智氏、常識破りの発想で治療薬開発 」 産経ニュース2015.10.5
  6. 「 新しい微生物創薬の世界を切り開く 」 JT
  8. "Japanese microbiologist Satoshi Omura shares Nobel Prize for medicine". The Japan Times. 5 October 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  9. 新しい微生物創薬の世界を切り開く | サイエンティスト・ライブラリー | JT生命誌研究館
  10. "大村先生". 開智学園高等部. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  11. "韮崎大村美術館 館長あいさつ 大村智". 韮崎大村美術館. Archived from the original on 2015-10-15. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Satoshi Ōmura. "Satoshi Ōmura Curriculum Vitae" (PDF).
  13. "Robert Koch Gold Medal". Robert-Koch-Stiftung e.V. Retrieved 2015-10-05.
  14. 【政府】11年「春の叙勲」‐森田氏に旭重、大村氏が瑞重 薬事日報 2011年6月20日
  17. List of Members | Prof. Dr. Dr. Satoshi Ōmura
  18. Member Directory | Satoshi Omura
  19. Japan Academy membership profile
  20. Académie des sciences membership profile