May 9, 2019
Michael Varney
Alumnus Michael Varney ’80 has been selected for the 2019 UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry Alumni Award. 
 
Varney will accept the award and present his commencement address at the UCLA Chemistry and Biochemistry graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 15, 2019 in the Court of Sciences.
 
As a UCLA chemistry undergraduate, Varney conducted research in the lab of Professor Michael Jung. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from UCLA in 1980. Varney went on to receive his Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry from the California Institute of Technology, and was an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University.
 
Varney is the Executive Vice President and Head of Genentech Research and Early Development (gRED) and a member of the Roche Corporate Executive Committee. He is responsible for all aspects of gRED innovation, drug discovery, and development.
 
In 1987 Varney was one of the original 15 employees at Agouron, a San Diego-based biotech company. He and his team pioneered the process of protein structure-based drug design. From these efforts came Viracept, an HIV protease inhibitor, and a number of anticancer agents, including Xalkori, Inlyta and Rucaparib.
 
Varney was recruited by Genentech in 2005 to take the company beyond biologics and create a small molecule drug discovery capability. Within 10 years his group had produced almost 40% of gRED’s development portfolio, including anticancer agents Erivedge and Cotellic.
 
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To learn more about the Saturday, June 15, 2019 Chemistry and Biochemistry graduation ceremony visit the commencement website.