Satoshi Ōmura

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Satoshi Ōmura
大村 智
Satoshi Ōmura 5040-2015.jpg
Satoshi Ōmura, Nobel Laureate in medicine in Stockholm December 2015
Born (1935-07-12) 12 July 1935 (age 87)
Alma materUniversity of Yamanashi (B.S.
Tokyo University of Science (M.S., Sc. D.)
University of Tokyo (Ph. D.)
Known forAvermectin and Ivermectin
Discovery of more than 480 new compounds
AwardsJapan Academy Prize (1990)
Koch Gold Medal (1997)
Ernest Guenther Award in the Chemistry of Natural Products (2005)
Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Chemistry (2010)
Gairdner Global Health Award (2014)
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (2015)
Scientific career
InstitutionsKitasato University
Wesleyan University
Academic advisorsKoji Nakanishi
Max Tishler

Satoshi Ōmura (大村 智, Ōmura Satoshi, [oːmɯɾa saꜜtoɕi]; born 12 July 1935) is a Japanese biochemist. He is known for the discovery and development of hundreds of pharmaceuticals originally occurring in microorganisms. In 2015, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with William C. Campbell for their role in the discovery of avermectins and ivermectin,[1] the world's first endectocide and a safe and highly effective microfilaricide.[2] It is believed that the large molecular size of ivermectin prevents it from crossing the blood/aqueous humour barrier, and renders the drug an important treatment of helminthically-derived blindness.

Early life and education[edit]

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).[3]


Since 1965 Ōmura served at Kitasato Institute system.[4] From 1970 to 1990, he also became a part-time lecturer at Tokyo University of Science.[5]

In 1971 while he was a visiting professor at Wesleyan University,[4] he consulted the chairman of the American Chemical Society, Max Tishler, at an international conference. Together they successfully acquired research expenses from Merck & Co.[6] Ōmura was considering continuing his research in the United States, but ultimately he decided to return to Japan.

In 1973, he became a director of the antibiotic laboratory at Kitasato University,[7] and he also started collaborative research with Merck & Co.[8]

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.


A molecular diagram of Ivermectin, one of Omura's discoveries

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.[2] Campbell later acquired these bacteria and developed the derived drug ivermectin that was first commercialised for veterinary use in 1981 later put to human use against Onchocerciasis in 1987–88 with the name Mectizan,[2] and is today used against river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, scabies and other parasitic infections.[3][9][10]

Since the 1970s, Ōmura has discovered more than 480 new compounds, of which 25 kinds of drugs and reagents are in use. Examples include andrastin, herbimycin, neoxaline as well as:

Furthermore, compounds having a unique structure and biological activity discovered by Omura are drawing attention in drug discovery research, and new anticancer drugs and the like have been created.

Selected publications[edit]

Social role[edit]

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 that is now Kitasato University Medical Center. Meanwhile, he established a path to rebuilding of the corporate school juridical person, which has integrated with the School corporation Kitasato Gakuen. He succeeded in establishing a new "School corporation Kitasato Institute". In addition, 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.[11] In 2007, he established the Nirasaki Omura Art Museum on his collection.[12]

Awards and honors[edit]

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

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.[clarification needed][13] Similar life-sized bronze statues were erected in World Health Organization (WHO) Headquarters,[where?] Carter Center, Merck & Co., World Bank Headquarters, and Burkina Faso's World Health Organization Africa Onchocerciasis Control Program.[clarification needed]

Honorary doctorates[edit]

List of honorary doctorates:[18]

Learned societies membership[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2015". Nobel Prize Outreach AB. 6 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Andy Crump; Satoshi Ōmura (1 January 2011). "Ivermectin, 'wonder drug' from Japan: the human use perspective". Proceedings of the Japan Academy, Series B. 87 (2): 13–28. Bibcode:2011PJAB...87...13C. doi:10.2183/PJAB.87.13. ISSN 0386-2208. PMC 3043740. PMID 21321478. Wikidata Q34598257.
  3. ^ a b "Satoshi Omura PhD". Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  4. ^ a b 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
  5. ^ [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
  6. ^ 「人間発見」日本経済新聞2010年7月14日
  7. ^ 「【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
  8. ^ 「 新しい微生物創薬の世界を切り開く 」 JT
  9. ^ Press release
  10. ^ "Japanese microbiologist Satoshi Omura shares Nobel Prize for medicine". The Japan Times. 5 October 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  11. ^ "大村先生". 開智学園高等部. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  12. ^ "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.
  13. ^ "『新しい微生物創薬の世界を切り開く』大村 智". サイエンティスト・ライブラリー | JT生命誌研究館. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Satoshi Ōmura. "Satoshi Ōmura Curriculum Vitae" (PDF).
  15. ^ "Robert Koch Gold Medal". Robert-Koch-Stiftung e.V. Retrieved 2015-10-05.
  16. ^ 【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. ^ "Satoshi Ōmura". Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  18. ^[bare URL PDF]
  19. ^ "List of Members | Prof. Dr. Dr. Satoshi Ōmura". Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  20. ^ "Satoshi Omura". Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  21. ^ "Personal Information – ŌMURA Satoshi | The Japan Academy". Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  22. ^ "Satoshi Omura | Liste des membres de l'Académie des sciences / O | Listes par ordre alphabétique | Listes des membres | Membres | Nous connaître". Retrieved 14 March 2022.

External links[edit]