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Shaomeng Wang, PhD

Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Professor in Medicine
Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Medicinal Chemistry
Co-Director, Molecular Therapeutics Program
Director, Cancer Drug Discovery Program
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Current Research

Goal: To develop new therapies for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), an aggressive form of the disease.

Impact: Dr. Wang has designed a new class of drugs that may be highly effective in treating TNBC. He and his team are now testing the effectiveness of these drugs – this work could lead to new therapies for this subtype of breast cancer, which currently lacks FDA-approved targeted treatments.

What’s next: He and his team aim to begin clinical development of these drugs.

TNBC is a subtype of breast cancer with a high recurrence rate and a poor prognosis. While chemotherapy is an effective option for patients with TNBC, there is an urgent need to develop targeted treatments for this aggressive disease. Dr. Wang has designed a new class of drugs for TNBC that target a protein on the cancer cell that allows tumors to grow and spread.

Full Research Summary

Research area: Developing effective targeted therapies for patients with triple-negative breast cancer.

Impact: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is particularly difficult to treat and has a high likelihood of metastasis – spreading to other tissues beyond the breast. While other forms of breast cancer are treatable with drugs that target estrogen signaling and the HER2 receptor, chemotherapy remains that standard treatment for patients with TNBC. Dr. Wang’s BCRF research is aiming to identify new targets for TNBC and developing therapies to treat this aggressive type of breast cancer. 

Current investigation: Dr. Wang is developing a novel treatment approach—inducing cancer cells to undergo rapid cell death. He hopes to provide a potent and efficacious new anticancer drug for treatment of this highly aggressive cancer subtype. 

What he’s learned so far: Dr. Wang and his team have developed a new class of drugs that is highly effective in killing human breast cancer cells by specifically eliminating a key protein in cancer development, BRD4. Dr. Wang and his colleagues have shown that two of these drugs, BD-20003 and BD-20005 are highly potent in inducing the degradation of BRD4 protein and inhibiting the growth of breast cancer cells. In addition, these drugs are highly specific for BRD4 

What’s next: He and his colleagues will extensively evaluate BD-20003 and BD-20005 for their therapeutic potential and further define their antitumor activity and mechanism of action in laboratory models. In addition, his team will continue to develop other promising compounds. Dr. Wang hopes to move this new class of anti-cancer therapy into clinical development for the treatment of TNBC in the near future.


Dr. Shaomeng Wang's primary research interest is the discovery and development of novel small-molecule therapeutics for the treatment of human breast cancer and other types of cancer focusing on targeting apoptosis and epigenetics pathways. Dr. Wang has built a comprehensive drug discovery program at the University of Michigan and has advanced four novel anticancer drugs into clinical development and several additional compounds into IND-enabling studies. Dr. Wang has published over 250 manuscripts and is an inventor of more than 50 patents and patent applications.

Dr. Wang's research program consists of three research laboratories. The computational/informatics laboratory has the expertise in lead identification and lead optimization using structure-based methods and informatics. The chemistry laboratory has the capability of synthesizing complex small molecule ligands. The biology/biochemistry/pharmacology laboratory has the capability and expertise for assay development, in-depth molecular mechanism studies and evaluations of the biological activity of new compounds in relevant biochemical assays and laboratory models of human cancer, as well as in vivo pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamic analysis of these compounds.

Large Researcher Headshot - Wang Shaomeng

BCRF Investigator Since


Area(s) of Focus