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Professor Chris McGuigan

Professor Chris McGuigan
Professor Chris McGuigan

Professor Chris McGuigan (1958-2016) was a scientist who dedicated his life to drug discovery and was determined to nurture and grow life science and research in Wales.

He was a specialist and highly gifted drug designer and developer who was at the very heart of vital scientific research for more than 30 years.

Professor McGuigan was one of the UK's leading scientists in the field of anti-cancer drug discoveries. His research expertise also extended into new drug discovery and development for HIV, hepatitis B and C, and central nervous system disease. He was responsible for:

  • inventing four new experimental drugs to enter human clinical trials
  • publishing over 200 scientific papers
  • submitting in excess of 100 patent applications.

Though Chris may have left this world, his legacies and contribution to science will live forever.
Dr Michaela Serpi, Research Associate

Professor McGuigan had a strong drive to use his scientific ideas for social good, working tirelessly and collaboratively with scientists all over the world to address unmet medical need.

Professor McGuigan launched Life Sciences HUB Wales, and was its first Chair. He was the Director of the Life Sciences Research Network Wales, a multi-million pound venture to support and fund drug discovery projects across Wales.

Key achievements

  • Inventor of phosphoramidate ProTides: a new drug delivery and discovery motif, and inspired the discovery and USA licensing of Remdesivir in the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Inventor of the first anti-cancer ProTide drug being tested in humans.
  • Inventor of two novel antiviral drug candidates to reach clinical trial, FV100 for shingles and INX189 for Hepatitis C (HCV).
  • Co-inventor of Cf1743 and its prodrug FV100 against Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV)/shingles.
  • Co-inventor of new anti-HCV ProTide INX-08189, the most potent compound in class for HCV and driver behind the $2.5 billion buyout of Inhibitex in 2012.
  • Co-inventor of acyclovir ProTides as new anti-HIV agents.
  • Inventor of Phosphorodiamidates: a new phosphate pro-drug motif with patents filed.
  • Co-inventor of new glucosamine phosphates with potential use in osteoarthritis.
  • Co-inventor of a new family of anti-measles virus agent.
  • Co-inventor of a new family of anti-MS agents.
  • Over 100 researchers trained and mentored from over 22 countries worldwide.

His grasp of the complexities of the drug invention process, from design through preclinical and then human studies, and of the intellectual property processes required to translate the inventions, was masterful. Chris was no ‘ivory tower’ scientist.
Professor Gary Baxter, Pro Vice-Chancellor, College of Biomedical and Life Sciences

The sad loss of Professor McGuigan is felt across the University and the wider scientific community.

The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences are proud to host the Chris McGuigan Drug Discovery Awards and Symposium in his memory and celebrate his legacy and the ground breaking achievements of others in the field of drug discovery.