Alumnus and professor selected to lead new academic center at Pacific
Bhaskara R. Jasti ’95, MPharm, PhD, professor of pharmaceutics and medicinal chemistry, was appointed the inaugural executive director of the Jie Du Center for Innovation and Excellence for Drug Development by Dean Rae R. Matsumoto. In his role, Dr. Jasti will direct the establishment of the long-term vision and objectives of the Center to achieve its mission of promoting innovation in drug development through education, training and mentorship, while fostering collaboration between Pacific students and industrial leaders.
Earlier this year, pharmaceutical entrepreneur and alumna Jie Du ’90, ’93, PhD donated $5 million to found the Jie Du Center for Innovation and Excellence for Drug Development at Pacific’s Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy in Stockton.
The gift was matched by the Powell Fund Match, established through an extraordinary gift of $125 million from the estate of the late Regents Robert C. and Jeannette Powell, doubling the impact of Dr. Du’s gift and resulting in a $10 million endowment to the School of Pharmacy.
“I look forward to leveraging my experience as a scientist, entrepreneur and administrator to build the organization with fundamental strengths that serve the pharmaceutical community.”
“University of Pacific’s Jie Du Center for Innovation and Excellence for Drug Development will be an integral part of the university, the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry in our region,” said Dr. Jasti. “I look forward to leveraging my experience as a scientist, entrepreneur and administrator to build the organization with fundamental strengths that serve the pharmaceutical community. We will strive to achieve Dr. Du’s vision of offering innovative and entrepreneurial programs to the university and pharmaceutical communities and help them realize their dreams.”
Dr. Jasti brings with him two decades of academic and research experience in innovative drug product development. He has extensive drug development and administrative experience as director of research and development at Corium Technologies, dean of graduate studies and associate provost for research at University of the Pacific. He has actively pursued the development of mucosal and transdermal products from feasibility to clinical stages within the pharmaceutical industry. In addition, he oversaw the development and implementation of policies that positively impacted research at Pacific. For his contributions to the pharmaceutical profession, Dr. Jasti was named a fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists and Association of Biotechnology and Pharmacy. He serves as a director and advisory member of several pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies. Pacific also recognized him with the Faculty Research Lecturer and Distinguished Faculty awards.
“Dr. Jasti’s rich experience and vision in drug development and pharmaceutical entrepreneurship align with the Center, making him the perfect inaugural executive director,” said Dr. Du. “In addition, Dr. Jasti’s extensive connections with industry leaders in various areas are valuable to the Jie Du Center and its future students.”
Dr. Du earned her PhD in pharmaceutics from Pacific in 1993 and served as the founder, president and CEO of JDP Therapeutics Inc. until it was acquired in 2019.
“Dr. Jasti’s rich experience and vision in drug development and pharmaceutical entrepreneurship align with the Center, making him the perfect inaugural executive director. In addition, Dr. Jasti’s extensive connections with industry leaders in various areas are valuable to the Jie Du Center and its future students.”
Through the programs offered by this center, students and scientists will gain skills in pharmaceutical regulation, entrepreneurship and business to prepare them for navigating the challenges associated with new ventures in drug development.
“The Jie Du Center is a transformative gift which further elevates the strong industry-focused niche of the graduate program in the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy,” said Dean Matsumoto. “It will provide new opportunities for students, alumni and the scientific community to complement their scientific and clinical expertise with specialized knowledge and skills that are valued in today’s competitive job market.”
Each year, hundreds of innovative ideas are assessed by investors for their scientific, clinical, regulatory and business merits, as well as commercial opportunities and limits. To prepare students for successful careers, they need a deep understanding of all aspects of the pharmaceutical and health care technology industries. In addition to Pacific students, programs offered at the center will be open to alumni and scientists currently working in the industry.
By Anne Marie H. Bergthold