Professor Simon Ward

Professor Simon Ward

Director, Medicines Discovery Institute

School of Medicine

+44 (0)29 2087 6984
Room 0.24, Main Building
Welsh speaking

Professor Simon Ward is the Sêr Cymru Professor in Translational Drug Discovery and Director of the newly established Medicines Discovery Institute at Cardiff University. The goal of the Institute, which represents a major investment in drug discovery science, is to translate new understanding of disease mechanisms from Cardiff, Wales and internationally into novel therapeutic approaches for patients in need of improved treatment options.

Professor Ward has led multidisciplinary project teams & medicinal chemistry groups from initiation of drug discovery projects through to clinical studies, bringing multiple molecules into clinical development for a wide range of diseases. He has considerable experience of successful in- and out-licencing, due diligence, patent litigation and commercial deal making.

Professor Ward has an MA in Natural Sciences and PhD in synthetic organic chemistry from Cambridge University, UK. He has a wide ranging experience of drug discovery in both major pharmaceutical companies, biotech & academia (GlaxoSmithKline, BioCrea GmbH, Knoll Pharmaceuticals, Vernalis, Chiroscience, University of Sussex, Cardiff University) and specialist experience of discovering and developing drugs for patients with neurological and psychiatric illness and against cancers.   In 2010, after a research career in industry, Professor Ward joined the University of Sussex to initiate a translational drug discovery group, which successfully grew into a centre with over 60 staff and students by raising over £35M for a portfolio of neuroscience and oncology targets.

Among his external roles, Professor Ward is:

Simon is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Chartered Chemist and Chartered Scientist (FRSC CChem CSci).


















Professor Ward is Principal Investigator on the following live grant awards:

  • Design and development of AMPA receptor modulators with a much improved safety profile as novel drugs for treating the cognitive dysfunction associated with schizophrenia and other CNS disorders (Wellcome Trust; £4.1M)
  • Identification of tools compounds to define the function of serine racemase in the brain (BBSRC Industrial CASE award with Evotec; £108,000)
  • Identification of Potent and Selective Inhibitors of Trypanosomal Alternative Oxidase (BBSRC Industrial CASE award with Novartis; £110,000)
  • An integrated target validation and drug discovery platform for the identification of novel agents targeting genome stability for the treatment of cancer (Wellcome Trust; £6.1M)

Professor Ward is co-Investigator on the following live grant awards:

  • Mechanisms of aminoglycoside ototoxicity and drug damage repair in sensory hair cells: towards the design of otoprotective strategies (MRC £1.9M; PI = Prof Kros, University of Sussex)
  • Non-homologous End-Joining Protein Complexes and Genome Stability (CRUK; £1M; PI = Prof Caldecott, University of Sussex)
  • Valium without the sedation: Non-sedating anxiolytic GABAA receptor modulators for the treatment of anxiety disorders (MRC £1.6M; PI = Prof Atack, Cardiff University)
  • α5-GABAA Receptor Modulators for the Treatment of Cognitive Impairment Associated with Huntington’s Disease (Wellcome Trust £3.1M; PI = Prof Atack, Cardiff University)