Vice President, Head of Drug Discovery
What I do at MMV:
I lead MMV’s Drug Discovery team which is responsible for discovering and delivering the next generation of antimalarial compounds for preclinical and clinical evaluation. We are only able to do this because of the amazing work of my Discovery colleagues at MMV, and the tremendous collaborations that we have with over 35 partners globally. Key aspects of my role are drug discovery and medicinal chemistry input into projects, articulating the antimalarial drug discovery strategy and raising the profile of MMV externally to help raise funds for our critical work.
Why I work at MMV:
I’ve been involved in research for over 20 years and originally joined the pharmaceutical industry because I passionately believe in using my scientific skills to improve the lives of others. Working at MMV is an extension of this, but is particularly special because we are working in such a neglected area of research, for patients who cannot afford expensive medicines. I see it as a real privilege to have the opportunity to do what I do; the mission is so powerful and provides an irresistible focus for me and the wider team; it is literally life changing.
More about me:
I trained as a synthetic organic chemist with Jeremy Robertson at Oxford University and received my D.Phil in 1996. Since then I worked at AstraZeneca until 2008 as a medicinal chemist working in areas of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, diabetes, neurology and anti-infectives. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work in Sweden for three years, in addition to the UK, and led teams and sections across the drug discovery continuum in Lead Generation and Lead Optimization. I’m an inventor on over 35 patent applications and, in addition, have published over 50 papers and book chapters covering medicinal chemistry and various therapeutic areas.
Ask me about:
Medicinal chemistry or malaria – I am passionate about both! Outside of MMV, I am on the advisory committees for the Anti-Wolbachia consortium at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and the Hit-to-Lead Platform for the Global Health Innovation Technology Fund (GHIT) based in Japan. I love music too and play the piano, cello and double bass as well as listen to opera; I can wax lyrical about my favourite arias! Also ask me about Scotland: I have a life goal to climb all the Scottish mountains over 3000ft (the Munros) and enjoy single malt whisky.