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Shaomeng Wang, PhD

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Titles and Affiliations

Warner-Lambert/Parke Davis Professor in Medicine
Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Medicinal Chemistry
Director, Michigan Center for Therapeutic Innovation
Director, Cancer Drug Discovery Program
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center

Research area

Developing new therapies for breast cancer.


The androgen receptor (AR) is expressed in over 70 percent of invasive breast carcinomas and is, therefore, an attractive therapeutic target. In recent years, a new technology, known as proteolysis targeting chimera (PROTAC), has gained momentum as a novel therapeutic approach. Most drugs do not destroy their targets, but rather block their activity. PROTACs eliminate their target protein—making them highly potent. They do so as a function of their design; PROTACs are molecules that have two parts: one attaches to a protein of interest, and the other recruits naturally occurring cellular machinery that degrades proteins. Dr. Wang and his team are leaders in the discovery and study of PROTAC protein degraders.

Progress Thus Far

Dr. Wang’s extensive research efforts have resulted in the discovery of a large number of highly potent AR degraders. Initial testing of these small molecules in laboratory models indicate that they can be administered orally and are potent and effective.

What’s next

In the coming year, the team will conduct extensive laboratory evaluation of these small molecules for their therapeutic potential and mechanism of action in human breast cancer models. Dr. Wang’s research will lay the foundation for the clinical development of an AR degrader for the treatment of AR-positive breast cancer.


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 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.

BCRF Investigator Since


Areas of Focus