Professor Chris McGuigan

Professor Chris McGuigan

Professor of Medicinal Chemistry

Email:
mcguigan@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2087 4537
Fax:
+44 (0)29 2087 4537

March 2016 - it is with great sadness that we learnt of the untimely death of Professor Chris McGuigan.

I am a PhD chemist with 30 years experience in drug discovery and development with 3 New Chemical Entities progressing from my lab to clinical trials in man. An expert in nucleosides, that dominate current antiviral drugs and make a significant contribution to anti-cancer treatment.

I chair the Life Sciences Hub, the nerve centre of life science business growth in Wales. and also Director of the Life Sciences Research Network Wales, a £15M initiative aimed at funding 100 new drug discovery projects across Wales. I am also a member of the Board of the £100M Arthurian Life Sciences fund. I have published over 200 scientific papers and submitted over 100 patent applications. A board member of Synergy and Contravir pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ) and Tiziana Life Sciences (AIM), and Chief Scientific Officer of Nucana, an oncology drug development company.

I am inventor on 4 new experimental drugs that have entered human clinical trials. Over my 30 years working in drug discovery, I have run a major research team of international renown, and trained almost 50 PhD students and over 50 post-doctoral researchers.

Inventor of a new drug discovery method, ProTides, with major applications for cancer, viral disease and beyond, which has led to new drugs for cancer and hepatitis C virus. Acelarin, Now in phase III clinical trials for ovarian cancer with remarkable results in phase II, including a 93% disease control rate in gynacaelogical cancers. Co-inventor (1994) of Cf1743 and its prodrug FV100, now in phase 3 human clinical trials for VZV / shingles. i am also the inventor of NUC-3373, a new agent for breast and colon cancer which is now in phase 1 clinical trials.

Qualifications

Graduated Bachelor of Science in 1979 with First Class Honours from the University of Birmingham where I also obtained my Ph.D. in Anticancer Drug Design, 1982.

Honours and awards

  • 2015 – present, Member of the Life Sciences Bridging Fund
  • 2015 – present, Chief Scientific Officer, Nucana
  • 2014 – present Chair of Life Sciences Hub Wales Ltd
  • 2013 – present, Director, Life Sciences Research Network Wales
  • 2013 – present, Member of the Welsh Life Sciences Investment Fund
  • 2013 - Appointed by Economy Minister to lead the Life Sciences Hub task force
  • 2012 - Inspire Wales Winner in category of Science and Technology
  • Cardiff University, Innovation Award
  • 2010 - Finalist for THES RCUK Awards
  • 2008 - The 2008 Innovation Prize was awarded to the Welsh School of Pharmacy and American-based pharmaceutical company Inhibitex Inc for their work in developing and trialling a new treatment for shingles
  • 2006 - Royal Society of Chemistry Industry and Technology Forum Chemistry World Entrepreneur of the Year Award.  Highly Commended Chris McGuigan for the pre-clinical and clinical development of a new family of anti-viral agents.  'Discovery for Viruses and Cancer', RSC Innovation Awards 2006.  Chris McGuigan and Jon Dickens, Cardiff ProTides Limited
  • 2005 - winner of Royal Society of Chemistry Industrially-sponsored Award in Medicinal Chemistry.  This award is given every 3 years for outstanding contributions to medicinal chemistry. The citation reads 'For impressive contributions to antiviral and anti-cancer medicinal chemistry, and to innovative pro-drug methods, that have lead to clinical candidate drugs'
  • 2004 - GlaxoSmithKline International Achievement Award 2004 presented at BPC, Manchester
  • 2003 - WDA Technology Prize for Health and Life Sciences
  • 2001 - International Society for Antiviral Research (ISAR) Prusoff Prize

Career profile

After a B.Sc. and Ph.D. in Chemistry at Birmingham University I carried out post-doctoral research in Edmonton, Alberta, followed by a demonstratorship at Exeter. My first faculty post was at UCL followed by Southampton University, and I came to Cardiff in 1994. In 2002 I was elected to the Board of the International Society for Antiviral Research and subsequently to the post of President-elect (2004-6) and President (2006-8). I sat on the RAE panel for Pharmacy in 2001 and again for 2008 and the REF panel for allied Health 2012-13.  I was PVC for Research at Cardiff 2012-13 and now Chair of the Life Science HUB and Director of Life Sciences Research Network Wales

Research interests

  • Anti-cancer drug discovery, engineering new nucleosides to overcome the known resistance mechanisms of current drugs. collaborative with Nucana BioMed in Edinburgh.  I am the inventor of a new drug discovery method, ProTides, with major applications for cancer, viral disease and beyond, which has led to new drugs for cancer and hepatitis C virus. Acelarin, Now in phase III clinical trials for ovarian cancer with remarkable results in phase II, including a 93% disease control rate in gynacaelogical cancers
  • Major interest in new drug discovery and development for cancer, HIV, hepatitis B and C, shingles, measles, influenza and CNS disease. This involves synthetic organic and organo-phosphorus chemistry, purification methods and spectroscopy, particularly high field NMR, and close collaboration with virologists and biochemists throughout Europe, and USA. 

Research Funding

Current projects

  • Pro-drugs as a new therapeutic opportunity in CNS (Life Sciences Research Network Wales, PhD studentship, Ed Langhorne)
  • The design, synthesis and evaluation of novel agents acting in the CNS (Life Sciences Research Network Wales, Post-doc, Fabrizio Pertusati)
  • Nucleoside ProTides as new anti-cancer drugs. (NuCana)

Current post-docs 

Current research students

  • Edward Langhorne
  • Carmen Jimenez-Antunez
  • Cecila Cima
  • Alessandra Cavaliere

Previous Students and Researchers

See attached.