Walter and Shirley Wang Endowed Chair in Medicinal Drug Discovery

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Prof. Michael Jung

Professor Michael Jung, a leader in the field of synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry, has been appointed as the Walter and Shirley Wang Endowed Chair in Medicinal Drug Discovery.

A distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry, Jung designs molecules in his laboratory that do not exist in nature.  He developed two FDA approved drugs, Xtandi and Erleada, which are being used to treat thousands of men who have a serious form of prostate cancer.  UCLA has benefited tremendously from Jung’s accomplishments, receiving more than $1.1B from selling the patent rights to Xtandi.  In 2018, in honor of his drug discovery work, Jung was named the University of California Presidential Chair in Medicinal Chemistry. Most recently he was awarded the 2022 IUPAC-Richter Prize in Medicinal Chemistry.

Shirley and Walter Wang

The Walter and Shirley Wang Endowed Chair in Medicinal Drug Discovery was established in 2020 by Walter and Shirley Wang, who donated $2M to the UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry to establish two new endowments. Their transformative gift established The Walter and Shirley Wang Endowed Chair in Drug Discovery and, in honor of Shirley’s mother, the Evelyn Pan Scholarships and Fellowships (for graduate students).The Wangs are wonderful supporters of the Bruin community and decided to support the department after hearing a presentation by Jung about his drug discovery efforts. Thanks to Physical Sciences Matching Gift Funds resulting from Xtandi royalties and the Chancellor’s Centennial Scholars Match Initiative, an additional $3 million was endowed for our department, bringing the total impact of the Wang donation to $5 million.

Shirley Wang received her bachelor’s degree in communications from UCLA in 1990 and is the Founder and CEO of Plastpro Inc. Her husband, Walter, is the President and CEO of JM Eagle, the world’s largest manufacturer of plastic and PVC pipe. 

Over the course of his long career Jung has made exceptional contributions to UCLA in the areas of research, teaching, and service.  In addition, Jung consults for several industrial laboratories in both biotech and big pharma settings. He has more than 420 patents and/or patent applications arising from both his consulting activities and his own research. Recently Jung has expanded his role in medicinal chemistry at UCLA and has more than 10 ongoing collaborations. In addition, Jung has founded 14 biotech startup companies.

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.