ATLANTA — Binghe Wang, a Regents’ Professor of Chemistry at Georgia State University and the director of the Center for Diagnostics and Therapeutics, has been selected as a National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Fellow, the academy board announced on Tuesday.
A medicinal chemist, Wang is focused on tackling pressing health issues, including cancer, inflammation, antibiotic resistance and rare diseases. During his career, he has made significant contributions in drug design and drug delivery, the development of molecular sensors, and DNA modifications and associated click chemistry work. His recent work on developing carbon monoxide-based therapeutics has attracted worldwide attention.
“We are especially interested in translating findings from our basic science to contribute to the development of clinically useful products,” said Wang, who is also a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in drug discovery and a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar.
One of his most promising discoveries has the potential for profound societal impact by addressing cancers that are difficult to treat. One class of new compounds works by inhibiting the Hypoxia-inducable Factor 1 (HIF1) pathway, which allows tumors to continue thriving and spreading in low oxygen environments. These drug candidates are specifically designed to work as both a standalone therapy and in combination with other cancer therapeutics. The HIF1 inhibitors are licensed to OncoSpherix, an oncology drug development company which has made progress in advancing these drugs toward the clinic.
Among Wang’s other significant discoveries are potential carbon monoxide-based therapeutics for inflammatory conditions and organ transplantation, as well as potential antimicrobials that can overcome the widespread issue of bacterial drug resistance. He is in the early stages of developing a new commercial venture to advance an at-home diagnostic and monitoring device that uses a unique chemistry to identify certain rare inherited metabolic disorders.
“I can think of few faculty-inventors more deserving of this recognition than Dr. Wang,” said Cliff Michaels, assistant vice president and director of Georgia State’s Office of Technology Transfer & Commercialization. “In addition to his innovation and academic accomplishments, he continues to champion the value of innovation and collaboration across campus. He sets an inspiring example.”
“Binghe is an outstanding scholar and a sought-after mentor by many students,” said Donald Hamelberg, professor of chemistry and interim associate dean for research in the College of Arts & Sciences. “He has put together an incredible body of work over the years and is more than deserving of such a prestigious recognition.”
Wang is an author on over 300 scientific publications, 20 book chapters and four books on drug development, and has edited 30 books as a serial editor. Wang is very active in his profession and has served as a journal editor and on various review panels. He has given more than 220 invited lectures worldwide. Wang’s work with his collaborators has led to 15 issued U.S. patents, six pending U.S. applications and numerous foreign counterparts. Four of his patent families related to potential cancer therapies have been exclusively licensed to companies for clinical development. He is a consistent collaborator with both industry and academic partners.
The NAI Fellows Program was established to celebrate academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. The program has 1,403 Fellows worldwide representing more than 250 universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutes.
Election to NAI Fellow is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors. Wang is the second Georgia State scholar to be named an NAI Fellow. Jenny Yang, Regents’ Professor of Chemistry and a member of the Center for Diagnostics and Therapeutics, was elected as a Fellow in 2020.