Dr. Chu’s extensive career in drug development and analytical chemistry includes nearly 30 years in the biopharmaceutical and biotechnology industries and over two decades at two of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies and has brought him national and international renown in his field. His scientific accomplishments in research and development are evidenced in over 110 patents, publications, scientific presentations, and invited lectures.
Dr. Chu earned his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He conducted his postdoctoral research of plant natural products synthesis at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to synthesize numerous diterpenoids using specific stereochemistry control approaches. Dr. Chu started his pharmaceutical industrial career at Schering-Plough Research Institute (now Merck) working on isolation and identification of biologically active compounds from natural sources, including plant and marine species and microorganisms, as potential candidates for drug development. His various roles included Senior Scientist and Senior Principal Scientist, and he was promoted numerous times to Research Fellow at Schering-Plough based on his significant accomplishments for R&D programs. His major contributions included the invention of a new process method of large scale drug substance preparation and production for the antibacterial drug Ziracin using Diol-bonded silica gel matrix with excellent efficiency and cost effectiveness; isolation and identification of over 80 new natural products as potential leads for drug development in anticancer, CNS, immunological and anti-infectious disease areas; and creation of a diverse fractionated natural product library to improve the efficiency of searching for drug candidates.
In 2004, Dr. Chu joined Cubist Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CBST), which was subsequently acquired by Merck & Co. in an $8.4 billion transaction, as Director of Natural Products Chemistry. In that leadership role, his responsibilities included discovery research of novel antibiotics against resistant strains or “superbugs.” He supervised every phase of the design, construction, and establishment of a natural products lab and research facility in Lexington, Massachusetts. He discovered >50 novel lipopeptides from genetically reconstructed producing strains as potential drug candidates for development of a new generation of Cubicin. Chu also developed and implemented efficient processes for three IND (Investigational New Drug) candidates for drug development, to wit, Tallymycin, CB-182,462, and CB-183,315, and also built the high throughput purification (HTP) system to support drug discovery research for SAR and lead optimization studies conducted by the Medical Chemistry team. Subsequently, he was tapped to expand his managerial role to direct the Bioanalytical Chemistry team. Under his supervision, the analytical team provided sufficient support to R&D programs for sample testing and analysis using various in vitro assays including metabolic and plasma stability, metabolite profiling and ID, CaCO2 permeability and protein binding studies, as well as in vivo DMPK support to advance 3 candidates to Phase-2/3 clinical trials with bioanalytical method development and transfer, monitoring external CRO partners for validation with strict adherence to GLP protocols.
Later, Dr. Chu joined Unigen Inc. in an executive role as Vice President of Natural Products Research and Development, in which capacity he led multidisciplinary teams. His oversight of discovery, analytical, and process development functions led to the discovery, development, and commercial launch of new dietary supplement products in joint pain relief and protection, weight loss, and skin care. He made significant contributions to the successful launch of a joint care product in South Korea named MCX, completed launch preparation for a joint protection agent (UP1304), developed and commercialized a patent pending proprietary body care product (UP1307), and improved the quality and cost effectiveness for several existing products by implementing new methodologies.
Dr. Chu’s scientific interests involved in the discovery and development of bioactive natural products from herbal plants and microbial and marine species for medicinal use in various therapeutic areas including cancer, cardiovascular, CNS and infectious diseases. He was also involved in the research and development of new active ingredients of herbal medicine in dietary supplemental products. Dr. Chu has broad knowledge of R&D for developing medicine from the early discovery stage to preclinical investigation/clinical trial support to manufacturing (CMC) of API for FDA approval and commercialization. He has been awarded numerous patents, published extensively in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and frequently presented at national and international scientific conferences and invited lectures. Dr. Chu has served as a member of the Editorial Board of The Journal of Antibiotics since 2000, and he has been invited by numerous prestigious scientific journals to review manuscripts for publication.