David J. Ramsay Entrepreneur of the Year

Vincent Njar 400x500

Vincent Njar, PhD

University of Maryland School of Medicine
Professor, Department of Pharmacology

Dr. Njar is a leading medicinal chemist and oncopharmacologist who has made significant discoveries in the development of novel therapeutics for breast, prostate, and pancreatic cancers. He is head of the medicinal chemistry section in the Center for Biomolecular Therapeutics at the Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). He is an inaugural Distinguished University Professor, the highest appointment bestowed on a faculty member at UMB.

Dr. Njar’s significant contributions to science include the design, discovery, and clinical translation of the CYP17 inhibitor galeterone for the treatment of cancer. Because of its clinical efficacy, galeterone and subsequent variants continue to be developed as novel therapeutics. Dr. Njar’s most recent National Institutes of Health R01 grant focuses on the development of next-generation galeterone analogs for prostate cancer. 

Dr. Njar founded two startup companies — Terpene Pharmaceuticals, LLC and Isoprene Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (IPI), a cancer therapeutic company — and has served as president and board member of both. IPI recently was awarded a two-year, approximately $2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute for a translational project to develop a novel therapeutic for triple negative breast cancer. Dr. Njar has secured 34 issued patents, more than 30 pending patents, and numerous active intellectual property and licensing activities at UMB. He is the lead inventor of these technologies.

He obtained his PhD in organic chemistry from University College London in the United Kingdom. Except for a brief stint at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, he has worked at UMSOM for almost 20 years