Wendy Young

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Wendy B. Young is a medicinal chemist and pharmaceutical executive currently employed at Genentech.

Wendy B. Young, Ph.D.
Alma materPrinceton University
Scientific career
Doctoral advisorEdward C. Taylor


Young received her B.S. and M.S. from Wake Forest University, working with Prof. Huw Davies.[1] She was co-author on an early application of Davies' rhodium(II) carbenoid insertion - Cope rearrangement chemistry, leading to the total synthesis of three small tropane natural products.[2] Young received her Ph.D. from Princeton in 1993, working with Edward C. Taylor on heterocycles[3] derived from natural pigments, one of which ultimately became pemetrexed[4] (Alimta)[5], an oncology treatment. In her postdoctoral fellowship with Samuel Danishefsky, Young was among one of a handful of groups in the mid-1990s to synthesize paclitaxel (Taxol),[6] a highly-oxegenated terpenoid natural product used to treat cancer.


Despite multiple employment offers on the East Coast of the United States,[1] Young chose to remain in the San Francisco Bay Area for her professional career. From 1995 to 2006, Young worked at Celera Genomics, studying inhibitor compounds of human plasma proteins[7] such as kallikrein and Factors VIIa and IXa. She was recruited to Genentech in 2006, and in 2018 was promoted to Senior Vice President of Small Molecule drug discovery.[1] One of her major research successes was development of a chemistry campaign against Bruton's tyrosine kinase, leading to molecules to potentially treat rheumatoid arthritis and B-cell lymphomas.[8] Her team developed fenebrutinib, currently in Phase II trials for several autoimmune disorders.[9]


  • 2018 - William S. Johnson Symposium, Stanford University[10]
  • 2017 - Elected Chair of ACS Medicinal Chemistry Division[11][12]
  • 2015 - "Most Influential Woman of 2015" - San Francisco Business Times
  • 1995 - American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 1993 - H.W. Dodds Top Thesis Award, Princeton University


  1. ^ a b c Genentech. "The Molecule Maker". Genentech: Breakthrough science. One moment, one day, one person at a time. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
  2. ^ Davies, Huw M. L.; Saikali, Elie; Young, Wendy B. (1991). "Synthesis of (.+-.)-ferruginine and (.+-.)-anhydroecgonine methyl-ester by a tandem cyclopropanation/Cope rearrangement". The Journal of Organic Chemistry. 56 (19): 5696–5700. doi:10.1021/jo00019a044. ISSN 0022-3263.
  3. ^ "HeteroCycles". www.heterocycles.jp. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
  4. ^ "Princeton chemist Edward C. Taylor, inventor of anti-cancer drug, dies at 94". Princeton University. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
  5. ^ "Alimta Monograph for Professionals - Drugs.com". Drugs.com. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
  6. ^ Masters, John J.; Link, J. T.; Snyder, Lawrence B.; Young, Wendy B.; Danishefsky, Samuel J. (1995-09-01). "A Total Synthesis of Taxol". Angewandte Chemie International Edition in English. 34 (16): 1723–1726. doi:10.1002/anie.199517231. ISSN 0570-0833.
  7. ^ Tang, Jie; Yu, Christine Luong; Williams, Steven R.; Springman, Eric; Jeffery, Douglas; Sprengeler, Paul A.; Estevez, Alberto; Sampang, Jun; Shrader, William (2005-12-09). "Expression, Crystallization, and Three-dimensional Structure of the Catalytic Domain of Human Plasma Kallikrein". Journal of Biological Chemistry. 280 (49): 41077–41089. doi:10.1074/jbc.M506766200. ISSN 0021-9258. PMID 16199530.
  8. ^ Wang, Xiaojing; Barbosa, James; Blomgren, Peter; Bremer, Meire C.; Chen, Jacob; Crawford, James J.; Deng, Wei; Dong, Liming; Eigenbrot, Charles (2017-05-03). "Discovery of Potent and Selective Tricyclic Inhibitors of Bruton's Tyrosine Kinase with Improved Druglike Properties". ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters. 8 (6): 608–613. doi:10.1021/acsmedchemlett.7b00103. ISSN 1948-5875. PMC 5467183. PMID 28626519.
  9. ^ "A Study to Evaluate the Long-term Safety and Efficacy of Fenebrutinib in Participants Previously Enrolled in a Fenebrutinib Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria (CSU) Study - Full Text View - ClinicalTrials.gov". Retrieved 2018-10-27.
  10. ^ "Wendy Young, Genentech | William S. Johnson Symposium". johnsonsymposium.stanford.edu. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
  11. ^ "Genentech: Wendy Young | Senior Vice President, Small Molecule Drug Discovery". www.gene.com. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
  12. ^ 2018, 2014,. "Executive Committee". www.acsmedchem.org. Retrieved 2018-10-27.