FAMU Professor Receives Patent for Highly Effective Anti-HIV Compounds

Kinfe Ken Redda
Posted at 1:49 PM, Dec 12, 2012

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-- Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) Interim Vice President of Research Kinfe Ken Redda has reached a milestone in his research by receiving a patent for the development of therapeutic agents in the treatment of HIV infection.

“A lot of work, money and analysis were invested into this major discovery,” said Redda. “We believe in our work. Our goal is certainly to make sure that this discovery will lead to the development of a more effective drug for the treatment of the HIV virus at an affordable price.”

Redda and his research team were awarded United States Patent #8,314,143 titled “Synthetic Flavonoids and Pharmaceutical Compositions and Therapeutic Methods of Treatment of HIV Infection and Other Pathologies.”

“We have a long way to go before the right remedy for treating HIV infection is realized,” said Redda. “I am excited that we have taken the first step. This is a research activity that has attracted me for the past quarter of a century. I know we need to do more in trying to make drug molecules to be safer and effective. I’m delighted to work with such a dedicated research group to reach this stage.”

Redda, who is the principal investigator and co-inventor, secured the patent with his research team. The patent relates to novel therapeutic agents suitable for the treatment of humans afflicted HIV infections.

This patent includes a group of compounds called flavonoids. Flavonoids are present in vascular plants and are known for their wide range of biological activities. According to Redda, the compounds his team has developed are synthetic flavonoid derivatives designed to target a specific enzyme, HIV integrase.

“HIV infection and AIDS are serious health hazards affecting our society,” said Redda. “We are proud to be part of the global efforts for a search of a more effective treatment of the disease. Our compounds showed superior inhibitory activities, compared to zidovudine (AZT), a popular drug used for HIV treatment. There is great potential for this substance to become an effective HIV and AIDS treatment.”

Redda’s research team consists of Nelly Mateeva, an associate professor in FAMU’s Department of Chemistry, and Chavonda Janeebra Mills, an associate professor at Georgia College and State University. Mills was a doctorate student in the FAMU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences during the initial process of their research.

About Kinfe Ken Redda

Redda is also a professor of medicinal chemistry in the FAMU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. A prolific research grant writer at FAMU, he graduated from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Alberta (Canada) with a Ph.D. degree in medicinal chemistry in 1978. He completed a two-year postdoctoral research fellowship in “synthetic medicinal chemistry” at Dalhousie University, Canada after graduation.

Redda was fully and actively engaged in teaching, research, university and national service, grant administration, as well as other scholarly activities during this time while receiving excellent research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Among numerous achievement awards, Redda was the recipient of both the prestigious Teaching Incentive Program (TIP Award) for outstanding teaching and research contribution in 1996 and the Professorial Excellence Program (PEP Award) for longevity of service to the University and demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and service in 1999. During his tenure at FAMU, Redda has generated more than $30.1 million from research and training grant awards at his institution.

Redda has published one book titled, “Cocaine, Marijuana, Designer Drugs: Chemistry, Pharmacology and Behavior”, CRC, Press Inc., 1989.

He has also authored more than 50 scientific peer-reviewed and indexed papers and his research findings were presented in more than 100 national and international scientific meetings in the United States, Africa, Canada, Switzerland, United Kingdom, China, Germany, Russia, Austria, Italy and Dubai.

Redda is a member of numerous state and national professional and scientific associations. In this capacity, he is a regular manuscript reviewer of articles submitted for publication to major scientific journals. He also served in several regular and ad hoc NIH review panels over the past 20 years.

About Nelly N. Mateeva

Mateeva is a recipient of the 2010 FAMU Emerging Researcher Award and an associate professor in FAMU’s Department of Chemistry. She received her doctorate in analytical/organic chemistry from Sofia State University in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1995. After graduation, she was a post-doctoral researcher at Florida State University and in FAMU’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, mentored by Redda. A co-author of 20 publications in refereed journals, who has presented nearly 30 presentations on academic conferences, Mateeva serves as an alternate councilor at the Florida Section of the American Chemical Society. She is also an associate member of the Chemical Reagents Committee of the American Chemical Society.

Currently, Mateeva has two grants from the Department of Homeland Security and the National Center for Food Protection and Defense. She and her students have been involved in a DHS-sponsored program dealing with development of sensors for biological and chemical toxins. The team spent 10 weeks conducting research at the University of Guelph, Canada, and the University of Minnesota. She continues to work on host-guest chemistry projects as well as the development of anti-cancer drugs. She is currently training several graduate students and many have already graduated under her guidance.

About Chavonda Janeebra Mills

Mills is an associate professor of chemistry at Georgia College and State University. She received baccalaureate degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering from Spelman College, Atlanta, Ga. and The Georgia Institute of Technology respectively in 2001 and a Ph.D. degree in medicinal chemistry from FAMU in 2006, under the direction of Kinfe Ken Redda.

In 2006, she joined the faculty in the Department of Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy at Georgia College and State University and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2011. Her current research interests are directed toward the design, synthesis and characterization of substituted aurones as anti-Alzheimer’s and anti-cancer agents. She has won numerous awards including a National Science Foundation Travel Award (2009), Merck-UNCF research fellowship (2010), STEM Women of Color Conclave Travel Award (2011) and the National Science Foundation CWCS fellowship.

For more information about the patent and the related research, contact Ken Redda at (850) 412-5102 or email him at