"I came for the t-shirts, but stayed for the serious commitment to excellence in small molecule drug discovery."
In the course of completing my Ph.D. work at Stanford, I had worked across a number of disciplines, from organic synthesis to NMR structural analysis and assay development. Genentech offered the opportunity to do all of those things at a much higher level in collaboration with experts in each area. I’ve stayed for so long because we have maintained those very high standards and gotten better and better at drug development.
I’m now focused on antibacterial research, one of the most chemically and biologically challenging therapeutic areas, but with the opportunity to make a real difference. We are working hard to bring new therapies to market and to help overcome the looming threat of bacterial resistance to known antibiotics.
The arylomycins are a family of peptide macrocycles that inhibit the essential bacterial signal peptidases. Through meticulous optimization of each portion of the molecule, we have taken them from narrow spectrum antibacterial agents to having a broad spectrum of Gram-negative activity. Along the way, we’ve discovered a novel means of covalently inhibiting bacterial proteases, generated a lot of new knowledge about crossing the bacterial outer membrane and learned a ton about the efficient synthesis of these natural products. It’s inspiring to see all the good science that has been done in service of addressing a truly difficult and pressing global problem.