Professor Paul Workman FMedSci, FRS is Chief Executive and President of The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR).
Workman is a passionate advocate of personalized molecular medicine and is an enthusiastic practitioner of multidisciplinary cancer drug discovery and development approaches to 'drugging the cancer genome'. He also conceptualized the 'Pharmacological Audit Trail' approach.
Workman has successfully built a series of multidisciplinary drug discovery and development teams in the academic, large pharma and biotechnology company sectors. Through this experience he has been able to combine the best elements of each of these environments. He has been responsible for the discovery of a number of drug development candidates, including in particular pathfinding inhibitors of the HSP90 molecular chaperone and the PI3 kinase family of signaling enzymes.
He completed his BSc in Biochemistry at the University of Leicester UK (1973) and his PhD in Cancer Pharmacology at the University of Leeds UK (1977). In 1976 he moved to the Medical Research Council's Clinical Oncology Unit in the MRC Centre, University of Cambridge UK.
Following a brief sabbatical at Stanford University and Stanford Research International in Palo Alto, California USA in 1990, Workman was appointed as Cancer Research Campaign Professor of Experimental Cancer Therapy and Director of Laboratory Research in the Department of Medical Oncology, Beatson Laboratories, University of Glasgow UK.
In 1993, Workman moved to a senior scientific leadership position in AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, where he was Head of the Cancer Research Bioscience Section at the Alderley Park site in Cheshire UK. He also initiated and led AZ’s biotechnology collaboration with Sugen, San Francisco USA.
In 1997, Workman moved to ICR to take over and build up what is now the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit, and held the position of unit Director until January 2016 - a period of over 18 years. Under his leadership, the Unit has identified 20 clinical drug candidates since 2005, has progressed 10 of its drugs into Phase I clinical trials in ICR’s partner Royal Marsden Hospital, and has seen its prostate cancer drug approved by the US FDA, European Medicines Agency and NICE and successfully launched.
Many of the Unit’s drug discovery projects have been partnered with biotech companies. In addition, Workman was a scientific founder of Chroma Therapeutics in 2000 and of Piramed Pharma in 2002, the latter being acquired by Roche in 2008.
In 2009 he received an Honorary DSc from the University of Leicester and the Royal Society of Chemistry George and Christine Sosnovsky Award in Cancer Therapy. In 2012, Workman was once again honored with the Chemistry World Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He also led the Team that received the American Association for Cancer Research’s 6th Team Science Award 2012. Workman was presented the award by Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chair of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee in December 2015.
Workman has published over 470 research articles and edited several books and journal issues on cancer drug development. He has also chaired a number of significant committees and been an adviser to many research institutions as well as pharma and biotechnology companies.
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