Dr. Tattanahalli Nagabhushan was born and raised in the state of Karnataka, India. After completing his undergraduate studies in Science at St. Philomena’s College in Mysore (B.Sc., 1953-1955), he pursued advanced studies in Chemistry at the University of Munich, Germany (Hauptdiplom, 1958-1962) before proceeding to Canada for further studies in Organic Chemistry. He received his Ph.D. in 1966 from the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada), specializing in Carbohydrate Chemistry under the mentorship of the late Professor Raymond Lemieux, who pioneered a number of discoveries in chemistry including the first successful synthesis of sucrose. Between 1968 and 1972, Dr. Nagabhushan expanded his graduate thesis work and established methods for the stereoselective synthesis of alpha glycosides and alpha glycosaminides the structural elements of many natural aminoglycoside antibiotics.
In 1973, Dr. Nagabhushan joined Schering-Plough Corporation in New Jersey (USA). Over the next 27 years until his retirement in 2000, he contributed significantly to the company’s new drug discovery and development programs. His work in the infectious diseases area produced three antibiotics: two marketed abroad for human use (netilmicin and isepamicin) and one (florfenicol) marketed globally for veterinary applications. Dr. Nagabhushan played a pivotal role in the development of interferon alfa-2b (Intron A), approved worldwide for the treatment of hepatitis and various cancers.
Dr. Nagabhushan was instrumental in establishing Schering-Plough’s biotechnology department, which has conducted research and developed numerous recombinant DNA-derived products for therapeutic benefit. Over the years Dr. Nagabhushan supervised the development of novel cytokines such as granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), interleukin-4 (IL-4) and interleukin-10 (IL-10). He also established collaborative research with the University of Alabama at Birmingham that led to the X-ray structure determination of gamma interferon, the gamma interferon/receptor complex, interferon alfa-2b, GM-CSF, IL-4 and IL-10.
In 1996, Dr. Nagabhushan was appointed head of Canji, Inc., a gene therapy company located in San Diego that Schering-Plough had acquired. Two years later, he was appointed President & CEO of both Canji and Schering-Plough subsidiary DNAX Research Institute (Palo Alto, California). He retired in 2000 as President and CEO of DNAX and Senior Vice President of Schering-Plough.
Dr. Nagabhushan was elected Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada (FCIC) in 1985. In 1995, he received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Alberta. He is also the recipient of the 1994 Milstein Award for his accomplishments in the field of interferon and cytokine research and development.
Dr. Nagabhushan, known among his friends as Nag, and his wife Dr. Nagamani Nagabhushan, a former drug metabolism expert at Schering-Plough, became US citizens in 1988. They are proud parents of two boys, Rangaswamy (computer scientist) and Raghunath (accountant) and their respective wives Smitha (computer engineer) and Vidya (computer engineer), and proud grandparents of their three grandchildren, Deepika (12), Ankitha (8) and Srikar (6). He enjoys playing golf, listening to classical South Indian Music, and cooking.