Dr. James Munch, 85, a noted pharmacologist and toxicologist who worked for a number of universities and pharmaceutical firms, died Wednesday at his home at Rossmoor Leisure World in Silver Spring after a heart attack.

Dr. Munch, who was born at Farmer City, Ill., earned bachelor's and master's degrees at Illinois Wesleyan University. After service in France as an Army officer during World War I, he moved to Washington and became a pharmacologist at what is now the Food and Drug Administration. He earned his doctorate in pharmacology at George Washington University in 1924.

Although he continued his association with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other government agencies over the years, Dr. Munch left the Philadelphia, where he became director of pharmacological research for a pharmaceutical company. From 1931 to 1954, he also was director of research at the Temple University College of Pharmacology. He held various positions with the Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital in Philadelphia. p

From 1965 to 1972, when he moved to Rossmoor, Dr. Munch was at the University of Miami Medical School in Coral Gables, Fla., and worked for a pharmaceutical firm.

After moving to the Washington area, he sometimes served as an expert witness in cases involving the pharmacology, toxic substances or narcotics.

His wife, the former Soula C. Robinson, died in 1979.

Survivors include a daughter, Margaret McWhinnie of Kensington; three sons, William, of Detroit, Neil, of Gaithersburg, and James C. Jr., of Portland, Maine; one sister, Mattie Osmun of Chicago, and eight grandchildren.