Tribute to Professor Sir James Whyte Black

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

We are extremely saddened to learn that the inspirational Professor Sir James (Jim) Black died on Monday 22 March.

AstraZeneca Research and Development Vice President, Paul Leff who worked with Jim in the early eighties at Welcome said:

"The world of pharmacology and therapeutics has lost one of its giants. Jim was an inspirational figure, a man whose discoveries touched millions of lives across the world. He was a pharmaceutical pioneer who dedicated enormous energy, passion and commitment to research and development in the effort to bring life changing medicines to patients.

On a personal note, Jim gave me my first job in the industry. He taught me pharmacology and drug design and effectively launched my career. He was a person of great character, warmth and humour, and an uncompromisingly sharp mind. He will be sorely missed by his friends and former colleagues at AstraZeneca and by scientists the world over. Our thoughts are with his wife Rona and his family at this time".

Professor Sir James Black worked at ICI pharmaceuticals (now AstraZeneca) between 1958 and 1964. During this time he lead the discovery of beta-blockers, still a mainstay of cardiac drug therapy. Later at Smith Kline French he repeated this success in his research and development of H² receptor antagonists for gastric ulcer disease. Sir James was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1988. His achievements and contribution to AstraZeneca are commemorated in our UK conference centre at Alderley Park that has borne his name since 1989.