Improving Patient Lives Through Patents

School of Biological and Chemical Sciences selects Joseph Lambing (Ph.D., '90) to receive 2022 Alumni Award
Portrait of Joseph Lambing

Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. The School of Biological and Chemical Sciences is honoring Joseph Lambing (Ph.D. ‘90) with its Class of 2022 Alumni Achievement Award.

Joseph Lambing, Ph.D. worked for 30 years in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, primarily focused on cardiovascular disease.

During his extensive career, he guided numerous drug discovery programs from early leads through clinical development and contributed to multiple investigational new drug and new drug applications for more than a dozen new chemical entities. Lambing is the author of several patents and publications and was involved in building multiple successful biotechnology companies.

He recently retired from Bristol Myers Squibb, formerly MyoKardia, where he was the Senior Vice President of Nonclinical and Pharmaceutical Development.

What inspired you to work in your field?

I was interested in life sciences early in my undergraduate chemistry years, but I ended up in the biotechnology/pharmaceutical business by serendipity. After my post-doc at UCSD, I took a job in a small custom peptides company applying the skills I learned at UMKC and UCSD.

After a few years, I was recruited to a company called COR Therapeutics in San Francisco. This turned out to be a good fit for me and it really set me on the path of working in cardiovascular drug discovery and connected me with the professionals that I would continue to work with at different companies throughout my career.

Tell me about one of your favorite or most interesting work projects.

Two projects come to mind. One is the work we did on Mavacamten at MyoKardia. That is a drug developed for patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Until Mavacamten, these patients had no drugs developed specifically to treat their disease. After a trial, it was found both safe and highly effective, making a real breakthrough for these patients.

The second is my work at Portola Pharmaceuticals on Andexanet Alpha, a modified form of Factor Xa that is an antidote for small molecule anticoagulants and is used when patients have life-threatening bleeding complications. This was a very unusual and challenging project that has now been approved and helped save many lives.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

My marriage to Rebecca, who I met during my time at UMKC, and our two beautiful children who have grown up to be an engineering and a neuroscientist.

What advice do you have for students who’d like to follow in your footsteps?

Find an area you are passionate about pursuing. For me, working in pharmaceuticals gave me a purpose because I always felt like I was working for patients. It’s also important to surround yourself with intelligent and passionate people that you enjoy working with.

About the Alumni Awards

Join us in honoring Lambing and other Class of 2022 awardees at an in-person celebration at 6 p.m. April 29, at the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center. To register, visit UMKC's Alumni Association website. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to donate to student scholarships, contributions can be made online.

Learn more about School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Published: Mar 1, 2022

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