I head up medicinal chemistry for Research and Early Development within the Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolism disease area. In this role I lead a team of over 60 medicinal chemists and oversee the strategic direction and prioritisations of the chemistry in our early disease area pipeline. I also sit on the AstraZeneca Global Chemistry Leaders forum to guide the direction of chemistry for the company.
I have a tremendously strong team so a major part of my role is to guide and support them and remove obstacles, so they can focus on the core project deliverables. I truly enjoy seeing people I work with develop and take on new challenges and succeed.
Over the past six years that I have led this team, we have built a strong pipeline, expanded our capabilities into new modalities chemistry and developed an extensive collaboration network.
During my career, I have been the lead chemist or contributing chemist on six drug candidates, including inventorship on 13 patents. I am particularly proud of the inventorship of a FLAP inhibitor which is currently being evaluated in clinical trials. I led the chemistry from the very start of the programme until late lead optimisation. To present this molecule as a first-time disclosure at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Annual Meeting in 2018 was a special feeling.
I achieved my PhD at Gothenburg University in organic chemistry, specialising in bio-catalyzed asymmetric oxidation and went on to do my Post Doc at The Scripps Research Institute in California with Nobel Prize laureate Prof. Barry Sharpless. I was in the Sharpless lab when the Cu-catalyzed click reaction was discovered and it has been amazing to witness how it has impacted so many areas of science.
I am deeply passionate about drug design to help bring new medicines to patients, including how to get all required features into one molecule. I also believe strongly in innovation at the interfaces of scientific areas – for example, the integration of various chemical modalities, targeted drug delivery, machine learning for drug design and drugging RNA using small molecules.
Awarded the prestigious UCB-Ehrlich Award for Excellence in Medicinal Chemistry
Invited speaker at the 8th Symposium on Advances in Synthetic and Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC-ASMC'19) in Athens, Greece on the discovery of our candidate FLAP inhibitor
Invited speaker at the 4th Medicinal Chemistry Summit in London on ‘Expanding the druggable target landscape in Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolism Diseases’
Design of a small molecule that stimulates VEGFA informed from an expanded encyclopedia of RNA fold-small molecule interactions.
Haniff HS, Knerr L, Liu X et al. Nature Chemistry. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41557-020-0514-4
A novel chemical series of 5-LO activating protein (FLAP) inhibitors for treatment of Coronary Artery Disease.
Lemurell M, Ulander J, Emtenäs H et al. J Med Chem (2019), 62, 4325−4349.
Discovery and Early Clinical Development of an Inhibitor of 5-Lipoxygenase-Activating-Protein (AZD5718) for Treatment of Coronary Artery Disease.
Pettersen D; Broddefal J, Emtenäs H et al. J Med Chem (2019), 62, 4312−4324.
New Modalities for Challenging Targets in Drug Discovery.
Valeur E, Guéret S, Adihou H et al. Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2017) 56(35):10294-10323.
Discovery of AZD6642, an Inhibitor of 5-Lipoxygenase Activating Protein (FLAP) for the Treatment of Inflammatory Diseases.
Lemurell M, Ulander J, Winiwarter S et al. J Med Chem (2015), 58(2), 897-911
A new approach to osmium-catalyzed asymmetric dihydroxylation and aminohydroxylation of olefins.
Andersson MA, Epple R, Fokin VV et al. Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2002), 41(3), 472-475