Catalyst Magazine

Meet UMB’s David J. Ramsay Entrepreneur of the Year

Vincent Njar, PhD
Photo by Matthew D’Agostino

Vincent Njar, PhD
School of Medicine
Professor, Department of Pharmacology

About Dr. Njar

Njar is an internationally respected medicinal chemist and oncopharmacologist who is head of the medicinal chemistry section in the Center for Biomolecular Therapeutics at the School of Medicine’s Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research. His research focuses on inventions in the discovery and development of small molecules as anti-cancer agents. He founded two companies over the years that have helped him to direct the early development of his inventions and technologies.


Njar’s work has led to the development of novel therapeutics for breast, prostate, and pancreatic cancers — some of the most prevalent and deadly cancers. In 2021, his company, Isoprene Pharmaceuticals, Inc., was awarded a two-year, $2 million Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Cancer Institute for a translational project to develop a novel therapeutic for triple negative breast cancer. Njar also has worked on the design, discovery, and clinical translation of Galeterone. Because of its clinical efficacy, Galeterone and subsequent variants continue to be developed as novel therapeutics for prostate and pancreatic cancers.


“Being an entrepreneur means to undertake a high-risk, high-reward venture and be fearless in the process. Over the years, I have realized that entrepreneurship means doing, doing, doing until something useful or impactful gets made.” — Njar

“What is particularly remarkable about Dr. Njar’s contributions is that he has developed numerous novel compounds, which have rapidly moved into clinical testing and are showing enormous promise as important cancer therapeutics.” — Kevin J. Cullen, MD, Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Distinguished Professor in Oncology, UMSOM, and director, University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center

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Jen Badie

Jen Badie is the assistant director of editorial services in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

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