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Ulrich (Uli) Bierbach, PhD

Bierbach has more than 25 years of experience designing small-molecule platinum agents, with collaborations focused on developing the next-generation of safe, effective platinum-acridine chemotherapeutics.

About Ulrich Bierbach

Bierbach earned a doctorate in bioinorganic chemistry from the University of Oldenburg in Germany. He developed new synthetic methods for classical platinum drugs as a postdoctoral associate at Leiden University in the Netherlands. During this time, he became interested in mechanistic and clinical aspects of platinum drug resistance. He completed additional postdoctoral training in medicinal chemistry at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Minnesota. In 1999, Bierbach joined the department of chemistry at Wake Forest University to further focus on platinum-based drug development.

For more than 25 years, Bierbach has researched and developed structurally unique inorganic platinum-based pharmaceuticals for various cancers, including triple negative breast, lung and central nervous system cancers. Using a variety of biochemical, biophysical, imaging and spectrospic techniques, Bierbach designs DNA-targeted chemotherapies with enhanced biological activity, improved safety profiles and broadened clinical applicability. His extensive portfolio of nonclassical platinum-based small molecule cancer technologies includes multinuclear, trans-platinum and monofunctional hybrid agents. Other recent research efforts focus on designing injectable gold-based protein formulations for treating autoimmune diseases and hybrid molecules incorporating tyrosine kinase inhibitors and radiopharmaceuticals.

To further enhance the drug discovery process, Bierbach has pioneered several novel approaches using his expertise in combinatory and conjugation chemistry. His lab was the first to introduce modular assembly and screening for generating high throughput libraries of diverse platinum-containing compounds for synthesis and testing. The lab was also the first to introduce the linker design for targeted delivery of platinum-based anticancer agents via carrier molecules such as peptides, monoclonal antibodies and albumin.

An active researcher, Bierbach has published more than 50 papers on platinum-acridine therapies, with his studies being funded by the National Cancer Institute for 10 continuous years. He has widespread capability for partnerships focused on the clinical and commercial application of targetable hybrid drugs, with unique expertise in small molecule synthesis, design and characterization.


Ulrich (Uli) Bierbach, PhD, develops platinum-based therapeutics for tackling chemo-resistant, life-threatening disease, with a specific focus on lung and breast cancers. He has more than 25 years of experience designing small-molecule agents for targeted cancer treatment, with collaborations focused on developing the next-generation of safe and effective platinum-acridine chemotherapeutics.

Ulrich (Uli) Bierbach, PhD, professor of chemistry at Wake Forest University with a cross appointment in cancer biology at Wake Forest School of Medicine, specializes in:

  • Cancer biology
  • Targeted therapy
  • Platinum-based chemotherapy
  • Drug development
  • Reaction methodology
  • Non-small-cell lung cancer
  • Triple-negative breast cancer