Ken Dretchen, PhD

Vice-President and Chief Science Officer

Mesa Specializes in Drug Delivery Development and Clinical OperationsIn addition to his role at Mesa Science Associates, Kenneth Dretchen, Ph.D. concurrently serves as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology at Georgetown University Medical Center. Previously at Georgetown University Dr. Dretchen had direct responsibility for the Animal Care and Use Committee, the Institutional Review Board, Radiation Safety and all research involving biohazards. He has also served as the Dean of Research for the Medical Center and the Senior Associate Vice President for Regulatory Affairs. Over the last twenty years he has investigated the toxicity of the major chemical and biological threat agents and served as the liaison for the university to the federal government for all of the regulatory aspects associated with the entire research portfolio.

During the first three years of its existence, Dr. Dretchen served as a subject matter expert and was a 24/7 on call advisor to the Department of Homeland Security for biologic and chemical threat agents. From 2007 – 2010 he served as a member of the National Biodefense Science Board reporting directly to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. This board provided advice to the secretary on issues such as emerging and infectious diseases, chemical and biological threat agents, and H1N1 influenza.

Dr. Dretchen’s work also includes successful collaborations with industry including one of the largest defense contractors in the development of a rapid stand-alone detection system for biological threat agents based upon DNA analysis. This project resulted in the important development of specific nucleic acid probes for anthrax, plague and dengue fever. His accomplishments also include the characterization of the toxin, Ricin.

Dr. Dretchen served as a consulting pharmacologist for King Pharmaceuticals on a study involving clinical trials to assess the pharmacokinetics and side effects of midazolam given intramuscularly via an auto-injector. The results showed that there was rapid absorption of the drug with minimal side effects suggesting that this route of administration would be beneficial in the treatment of seizures.

Recently Dr. Dretchen was appointed to the Scientific Board of Ameritox Ltd.  Ameritox Ltd. provides rapid urine drug monitoring. He was an investigator in a clinical trial sponsored by the company describing the identification of a new metabolite of aripiprazole (Abilify) in urine that was correlated with the oral administration of the parent drug. He was the lead author on the paper “ Quantitative Levels of Aripiprazole and its Metabolites in Urine” published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Clinical Toxicology 1(2): 1014 (2013).