On his desk, Josh Richards ’05 COE, ’07 MS keeps a statue of Jesus washing the feet of St. Peter. It embodies the concept of servant leadership and reminds Richards of one of the key reasons he has devoted his career to developing a treatment for skin cancer: “to bring glory to God,” he says.

Richards also brings honor to his alma mater. At Amgen, one of the world’s leading biotechnology companies, he helped produce the first US batch of a novel skin cancer drug and established the clinical manufacturing processes to mass-produce it.

In 2015, the drug, called Imlygic, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Imlygic is a genetically modified virus that is injected into a tumor, where it kills cancer cells. It also activates the immune response, stimulating the destruction of cancer cells elsewhere in body. The drug has shown promise in treating advanced melanoma.

Richards emailed two Chemical Engineering professors at Villanova to share the news: Randy Weinstein, PhD, now interim dean of the College of Engineering and associate vice provost for Teaching and Learning, and Vito Punzi, PhD.

“I want to thank you for your guidance and the patience within the classroom. You helped me become the professional I am today,” wrote Richards, who is now production manager at Ocular Therapeuticx. “You each have a part in these patients being served.”

My foundation was built at Villanova. I’ll hold on to those values of Veritas, Unitas, Caritas for the rest of my life.”

Josh Richards ’05 COE, ’07 MS