I am currently Head of Hit Discovery in the IMED Biotech Unit at AstraZeneca. The team’s mission is to find the highest quality starting points for drug discovery projects. Comprising high throughput screening (HTS), computational chemistry, virtual screening and DNA-encoded chemical libraries (DEL), we are a multi-functional group of chemists, biologists, computational scientists and technologists who are passionate about exploring new ways of working and new technologies, such as automation and artificial intelligence, to discover and optimise drug molecules.
My group also works extensively with academic centres of excellence through open innovation and strategic collaborations with groups such as the MRC, CRUK and Life Arc to help support academic drug discovery.
At AstraZeneca, I also chair the Global Chemistry Leadership team, which is responsible for chemistry strategy, and have been particularly active in building the company’s automation and machine learning capabilities.
In 1991, I obtained my PhD in chemistry from the University of Southampton, followed by post-doctoral work at UC Irvine California. In 1994, I joined AstraZeneca as a medicinal chemist and was part of the chemistry team that discovered an oral antiplatelet for the treatment of acute coronary syndromes (ACS).
During my time at AstraZeneca, I have experience leading projects through all phases of drug discovery, contributing to multiple clinical candidates in the respiratory, inflammation and cardiovascular areas. I have a long-standing interest in lead generation, hit identification and diversity screening. Prior to taking up my current position in 2012, I was Director of Chemistry for the cardiovascular group at Alderley Park.
What excites me as a leader is working with highly talented scientists and seeing the green shoots of a new idea mature into a viable solution that improves and accelerates drug discovery.
Co-recipient of the Malcolm Campbell award from the RSC for the discovery of an oral antiplatelet for the treatment of acute coronary syndromes (ACS), 2013
Built an extensive Open Innovation Early Discovery ecosystem
Led the transformation of AstraZeneca chemistry to create a highly successful outsourcing model
Established the Lead Generation Chemistry Department in Gothenburg
Towards a hit for every target.
An analysis of the attrition of drug candidates from four major pharmaceutical companies.
Nature Reviews Drug Discovery (2015) 14(7): 475-486. Galbraith S.M., Lodge M.A., Taylor N.J., Rustin G.J., Bentzen S., Stirling J.J., Padhani A.R. NMR Biomed. 2002 Apr; 15 (2): 132-42. Publication link: https://www.nature.com/articles/nrd4609
Potent reversible inhibition of myeloperoxidase by aromatic hydroxamates.
The discovery of an orally active reversible P2Y12 receptor antagonist for the prevention of thrombosis.
Springthorpe, B, Bailey A, Barton P et al. From ATP to AZD6140: Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters (2007) 17(21): 6013-6018
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