Amgen Early Innovator Award

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Professor Michael Jung was the co-awardee of the Amgen Early Innovator Award at the UCLA Biomedical & Life Science Innovation Day 2018. The award was presented to Jung, a distinguished professor of chemistry, and his co-awardee Daniel H. Geschwind, a distinguished professor of neurology and psychiatry at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, for their project titled “Activation of a Tau Regulator in Alzheimer’s Disease”. The team will use the $75,000 award to further the research conducted in Geschwind’s laboratory.
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Professor Dan Geschwind, David Piacquad (Amgen), and Professor Michael Jung. Photo by Richard Luu.
According to the event program the award “supports the translation of promising academic research into technologies that benefit patients” and this year’s recipients were selected based on “a combination of unmet medical need, technical strength and competitive differentiation”.  
David Piacquad, Senior Vice President of Amgen Business Development, announced the Amgen Early Innovator Award at the UCLA Biomedical & Life Science Innovation Day on June 13, 2018.
Jung and Geschwind are partners on a joint collaborative project seeking to develop an effective drug to treat Alzheimer’s patients. (Today there are no drugs that effectively stop the progression of the disease.) Gershwind’s group is carrying out the biological testing portion of the research and Jung’s group is determining the structure–activity relationship (SAR) for Geschwind’s lead molecules using organic chemistry methods. “Amgen recognizes the value of cultivating early-state innovation with top institutions like UCLA” said Piacquad.“The Amgen Early Innovation Award, which supports the translation of promising academic research into technologies that benefit patients, is one example of how we work with organizations of all kinds to advance innovation.”
Jung is a worldwide leader in the field of synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry. His breakthrough anti-prostate cancer drug Xtandi has extended the lives of many men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). In February 2018, a second drug, which was developed in Jung’s lab, Erleada, was approved for the treatment of pre-metastatic CRPC. In 2016, Jung was appointed the Associate Dean for Entrepreneurship and Innovation of the UCLA Division of Physical Sciences. To learn more about Jung’s research, visit his group’s website.