MMV ESAC member receives accolade for malaria research

Prof. Stephen Ward and his team are awarded The Royal Society for Chemistry’s prestigious Malcolm Campbell Memorial Award.

22 Aug 2011

Prof. Stephen Ward and the Liverpool Drug Discovery Group have been awarded The Royal Society for Chemistry’s Malcolm Campbell Memorial Award 2011 for their invaluable contribution to malaria drug discovery and development over the last 20 years.

The Group, comprising Prof. Stephen Ward, Prof. Paul O’Neill and Prof. Kevin Park, has a ‘molecule to man’ philosophy where basic research hypotheses are tested and progressed through each step of research to eventually reach the patient. It has made seminal contributions toward the understanding of antimalarial drug action and drug resistance mechanisms. This insight has then been funnelled into the design of new antimalarial molecules, with the potential for improved safety and efficacy. Over the years several of these projects have received support from MMV.

The Malcolm Campbell Memorial Award commemorates Professor Campbell’s outstanding contributions in a broad range of chemistry and their applications to the understanding of bioactivity. The award is presented bi-annually during the Royal Society of Chemistry/Society of Chemical Industry, Medicinal Chemistry Symposium, this year to be held in Cambridge, 11-14 September 2011.

“We are very proud that the RSC has recognized the work of the Liverpool Drug Discovery Group, an initiative that was started in the early 1990’s, long before the arrival of PDPs,” Prof. Ward said. “MMV’s catalytic funding and mentoring role, however, has been crucial in enabling us to translate good ideas into new drugs.”

“We are delighted to hear that the tireless efforts of Steve and his team to translate basic biology into drugs have been recognized,” said Dr Tim Wells, MMV’s Chief Scientific Officer. “His team have taken a pioneering and practical approach to their academic research. The award justifiably honours that work and highlights the high calibre of advisors on our ESAC.”

Prof. Ward has been an active member of MMV’s Expert Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC) since 2008, contributing a wealth of knowledge and expertise on the biology of the parasite.

“One of the real inspirational benefits of being invited to sit on MMV’s ESAC has been the opportunity to be a part of successful projects – from the nucleus of an idea that evolves into a full-blown drug development project and finally emerges as a medicine that actually treats patients – all under MMV’s guidance.”

Prof. Ward graduated in Pharmacology and Physiology from Aston University in 1979 and obtained his PhD in Biochemical Pharmacology from Liverpool University in 1984. He spent the next 2 years as a Senior Research Fellow at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, USA, before returning to the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine as the Wolfson Lecturer in Tropical Pharmacology. In 1990 he moved to a lectureship in Pharmacology in the University of Liverpool and was awarded a chair in Pharmacology in 1999. He returned to the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in 2000 as Walter Myers Professor and Head of Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology.