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Prof Chris McGuigan  -  BSc PhD

1st June 2013

First human data reported on our novel anti-cancer agents NUC1031

26 June 2012

INX189 (BMS-094) a novel compound for hepatitis C virus

A long-standing University research collaboration that is leading to new antiviral drugs, with a massive potential impact for healthcare worldwide has won a major Cardiff University award.

Professor Chris McGuigan of the Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) were presented with the Business Innovation Prize by David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science, at the University’s annual Innovation and Impact Awards.

BMS progressed INX189 (BMS-094) a novel compound for hepatitis C virus (HCV) through major efficacy trials in HCV-infected patients, but halted the trial in 2012.

Originally discovered by Professor McGuigan and his team in Cardiff, INX189 was developed in collaboration with the small US company, Inhibitex. The company had previously acquired FV-100, a new potential treatment for shingles, also from Chris McGuigan’s laboratory.

Largely on the basis of FV-100 and, mainly, INX189, Inhibitex was sold in February 2012 to Bristol-Myers Squibb for $2.5Bn.

The Business Innovation Award recognises the significant healthcare, commercial and economic impact arising from the discovery and clinical development of the drugs. More than 160 million people worldwide are affected by Hepatitis C; this represents 3% of the World’s population. In Europe and America, around one million people each year suffer with shingles. If approved for market, both FV-100 and INX189 have potential for enormous healthcare benefits in relation to both illnesses.

Alongside this, the collaboration has given researchers and postgraduate students the chance to gain hands-on experience of drug development from discovery to clinical trials - knowledge which directly feeds back into undergraduate teaching on the Pharmacy degree at Cardiff.

Highly-skilled jobs in the biotechnology sector in both Cardiff and America have been created thanks to the collaboration and Cardiff has benefitted financially at each stage of the development process.

Professor McGuigan, Cardiff School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, said: "I am delighted to receive the Business Innovation Prize and share in this recognition with my team at Cardiff and our collaborators at Inhibitex and now Bristol-Myers Squibb. Our initial aim, to identify novel drug candidates has been far exceeded with the pre-clinical and clinical results. This award recognises both a scientific and a commercial success for Cardiff, Wales and beyond."

Amadou Diarra, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s European Vice President & General Manager, UK & Ireland said: "We are delighted to receive the Business Innovation Prize. The collaboration with Professor McGuigan and his team in Cardiff has resulted in a prime example of innovation and we greatly appreciate the recognition. Additionally, the tangible outcomes from the partnership have the potential to address an unmet need for patients requiring treatment."

The Awards are an opportunity for Cardiff University academic staff to showcase their innovative collaborations with business and other non-academic organisations, demonstrating the positive impact that academic research can have on economy and society.

The 2012 Innovation and Impact Awards were sponsored by Geldards Law Firm and Fusion IP

Innovative Partnerships Recognised


2008 Innovation Prize winners (From left to right) Geoffrey Henson, Inhibitex Inc, Professor Ken Woodhouse, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Engagement, Ceri Delemore, Geldards LLP and Professor Chris McGuigan, Welsh School of Pharmacy

2008 Innovation Prize winners (From left to right) Geoffrey Henson, Inhibitex Inc, Professor Ken Woodhouse, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Engagement, Ceri Delemore, Geldards LLP and Professor Chris McGuigan, Welsh School of Pharmacy

link to full sized image  535.3 Kb



The Cardiff University Innovation Prize for 2008 was awarded to the Professor Chris McGuigan and American-based pharmaceutical company Inhibitex Inc for their work in developing and trialling a new treatment for the debilitating condition shingles caused by the Varicella Zoster virus.


Watch footage of 2008 Innovation Prize for business collaboration


see also - FV100 - the story

Antiviral ProTides

Nucleoside analogues dominate current antivirals. In the UK 17 of the 34 antiviral drugs on the market are nucleoside-base They all need phosphorylation to generate active forms in the cell, and this can be a slow and inefficient process. The free phosphate forms cannot be used in therapy due to their charge, which prevents cell entry. We have devised a pro-drug method, "ProTides" which allows delivery of the pre-formed active phosphate form into living cells, by masking the charge on the phosphate. Here is a typical synthesis of these agents:


Protide Synthesis


And here is an example of the dramatic increase in potency this ProTide method can bring: