Dr. Paul Erhardt, emeritus faculty at the University of Toledo in Ohio and the pioneer of Brevibloc, a drug that treats cardiac abnormalities and saves hundreds of thousands of lives each year, will be the featured speaker at the annual UGA College of Pharmacy Chu Lectureship on Wednesday, March 23rd. The time and location will be announced at a later date.
Early in his career, Dr. Erhardt worked in the private sector at a small pharma company, American Critical Care, where he discovered Brevibloc (generic name esmolol), an ultrashort-acting beta-adrenergic receptor blocking agent, that is still saving lives today in emergency situations. It is used to treat atrial fibrillation, sinus tachycardia, and other cardiac abnormalities in hospital settings across the world and has led to a series of additional life-saving drug discoveries as well. Esmolol is regarded as the prototype for a class of compounds that later became known as “soft drugs.” Through the years, esmolol’s ab initio design strategy has been used repeatedly by various companies to successfully produce additional soft drugs marketed for critical care medicine.
Later, Dr. Erhardt’s career transitioned into big pharma at Berlex Labs, where he rose from Section Head to Assistant Director of Global Drug Discovery and Preclinical Development. Eventually, his career shifted from industry to academia, where he started at the University of Toledo as a tenured professor and the Director of the University of Toledo’s Center for Drug Design and Development.
Engaging in outreach, Dr. Erhardt also became active in the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, where he served as President of the Division for Chemistry and Human Health. Subsequently, he received an IUPAC award for Outstanding Contributions to the Advancement of Worldwide Chemistry. As an inductee of the American Chemical Society’s Division of Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame, he has been involved in more than 150 publications, 50 U.S. patents, and seven Investigational New Drugs submissions. In addition to receiving several research and teaching awards, he achieved the prestigious rank of a Distinguished University Professor. Though he recently retired, Dr. Erhardt continues to conduct drug discovery research at the University of Toledo.
The College’s Chu Lectureship recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of Distinguished Research Professor and Professor Emeritus Dr. David Chu, who has spent his career researching new drugs for the treatment of viral infections and cancer. Immediately following Dr. Erhardt’s presentation, and a follow-up question and answer period, Dr. Chu will be honored for his years of service to UGA and the College. In addition, Dr. David Crich, Georgia Research Alliance Professor and David Chu Eminent Scholar in Drug Design, will be recognized.
“We are privileged to welcome Dr. Erhardt to the College of Pharmacy,” said Dr. Shelley Hooks, Interim Department Head of the Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences Department at the College and Associate Vice President in the UGA Office of the Vice President for Research. “Dr. Erhardt will be an enlightening speaker, and his presence at our College will be an outstanding tribute to Dr. David Chu, whose accomplishments in drug discovery are internationally known.”