2017 Alumni Award

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Alumnus Sep Sarshar ’89 has been selected for the 2017 UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry Alumni Award. 

Dr. Sarshar will accept the award and present his commencement address at the UCLA Chemistry and Biochemistry graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 17, 2017 in the Court of Sciences.

“In my sophomore year, a chance meeting with my undergraduate advisor, Prof. Michael Jung, in a corridor of Young Hall changed my life”, Dr. Sarshar said. “He suggested I consider switching my major from math to chemistry, and without giving it much thought, I said, ‘Okay’.” 

After receiving his Bachelor degree from UCLA in 1989, Dr. Sarshar was admitted to the chemistry graduate program at Harvard University where his advisor was Nobel Laureate E. J. Corey. In 1994, he started his industrial career as a medicinal chemist at Ontogen, a San Diego start up that helped pioneer the field of combinatorial chemistry, and he joined Pfizer in 1997, where he continued his research in the development of novel anti-angiogenic drugs.  

In 2001, Dr. Sarshar founded Auspex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ASPX) which was acquired in 2015 by Teva Pharmaceuticals for $3.5bn. Auspex specialized in the application of deuterium substitution to known molecules with metabolic liabilities. The goal was to create novel therapies with the potential for improved safety and efficacy profiles. Its lead compound SD-809 (Austedo) was recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of chorea associated with Huntington’s disease, tardive dyskinesia, and Tourette syndrome. Dr. Sarshar has authored several papers and holds more than 100 patents.  

He is currently a principal at Peritus Partners, a commercial real estate development company, a family business that he has been involved in since he was a teenager. He took over the business in 2015 when his father retired. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, surfing, skiing and scuba diving.


To learn more about the Saturday, June 17, 2016 Chemistry and Biochemistry graduation ceremony visit the commencement website.