UC Presidential Chair in Medicinal Chemistry

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Professor Michael Jung has been named the UC Presidential Chair in Medicinal Chemistry, retroactive to July 1, 2018.

Presidential chairs are created by the Chancellor’s office and approved by the Office of the President to honor UCLA’s most accomplished faculty.  “Over the course of his long career Mike has made exceptional contributions to UCLA in the areas of research, teaching, and service” said Department Chair Catherine F. Clarke. “In the past few years, he has had brilliant success in the development of drugs for prostate cancer. UCLA has benefited tremendously from Mike’s accomplishments, receiving more than $1.1B from selling the patent rights to Xtandi. We congratulate him on this well-deserved honor!”.  

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Professor Michael Jung

 holding a model of one of the molecules he has designed.

A distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry and Associate Dean for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UCLA, Professor Michael Jung is a leader in the field of synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry. By designing molecules in his laboratory that do not exist in nature, Jung has developed two molecules that are being used to treat thousands of men who have a serious form of prostate cancer. One of these drugs, enzalutamide (brand name Xtandi), was approved for the treatment of metastatic, post-chemotherapy, castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) in August 2012, and had sales of over $3.6B in 2018. The second drug, apalutamide (brand name Erleada), was so effective that the clinical trial was halted two years ahead of schedule and it was approved for clinical use by the FDA in 2018.  More importantly, Erleada is effective in early stage prostate cancer that has not yet metastasized, namely non-metastatic CRPC.

In 2017, Jung and his wife, Alice, endowed the Michael and Alice Jung Chair in Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery to enable UCLA to hire a faculty member who will conduct drug discovery research with the goal of producing effective new pharmaceuticals.

Read how Professor Jung and his team created a drug to extend the lives of men with prostate cancer

Photos and article by Penny Jennings, Communications Manager, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.