Professor Paul Workman
Paul Workman is Harrap Professor of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at The Institute of Cancer Research, London. He is renowned for his research on the discovery and mechanistic investigation of cancer drugs and chemical probes – including inhibitors of protein kinases, PI3 kinases, molecular chaperones including HSP90 and HSP70, and the Heat Shock Factor 1 pathway. He was instrumental in the discovery at ICR of fadraciclib, a selective CDK9/2 inhibitor that shows promise in models of MYCN-driven paediatric neuroblastoma and has now progressed into a first-in-child clinical trial. He also played a key role in the discovery (at Zeneca) of the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor gefitinib (Iressa), approved in non small cell lung cancer, and (at ICR) the AKT inhibitor capivasertib, which met its endpoints in its Phase III trial in ER positive breast cancer. Most recently, Paul led the discovery of the HSF1 pathway inhibitor NXP800 which is now undergoing Phase I clinical trial. Paul also originated the concept of the Pharmacological Audit Trail for biomarker-led drug discovery and development. Paul’s work has received over 52,000 citations (Google Scholar) and in 2018 he was listed as one of the world’s most highly cited researchers (Clarivate). He is an elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Royal Society of Biology, Royal Society of Chemistry, European Academy Cancer Sciences, and is a Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Life Fellow. Paul is also an elected Fellow of the Royal Society (the UK’s national academy) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and awards, including the CRUK Translational Research Prize and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Team Science Award (Team Leader). Paul previously served as Chief Executive of the ICR (2014-2021) during which time it was listed top of Times Higher Education table of academic research performance across the UK and won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its cancer drug discovery and development. He was also Deputy Chief Executive of ICR (2011-2014); and Director of the ICR’s CRUK Cancer Therapeutics Unit, where he led the discovery of 21 drug candidates, 13 of which have progressed to clinical trials; and was Founding Director of the CRUK Convergence Science Centre at ICR and Imperial College and its precursor (2016-2020). Earlier he held leadership positions at the CRUK Beatson Laboratories, University of Glasgow; the Medical Research Council (MRC) Clinical Oncology Unit, Cambridge University; and Zeneca Pharmaceuticals (now AstraZeneca); and spent a sabbatical at Stanford University and SRI International, CA, USA. In addition, Paul is a serial scientific entrepreneur – he was a co-founder of Chroma Therapeutics and Piramed Pharma (acquired by Roche); is a Science Partner at Nextech Invest; and is an adviser to several biotechnology companies. He also serves as Executive Director of the non-profit Chemical Probes Portal, a resource to inform the selection and use of high-quality small-molecule tools for biomedical research, and is overseeing the production of the fourth in a series of Guidelines for the Welfare and Use and Rodents in Cancer Research, due for publication in Nature Cancer in 2023. Paul is Co-Director of the CRUK Children’s Brain Tumour Centre of Excellence at Cambridge University and ICR. Paul lectures, writes and blogs (https://www.icr.ac.uk/blogs/the-drug-discoverer) about drug discovery and cancer research.
Dr Paul Clarke
Paul is a Team Leader of the RNA Biology and Molecular Therapeutics Team, based at the Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery (CCDD) at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London. Prior to joining ICR, Paul trained as a molecular biologist exploring the regulation of protein synthesis in cells transformed by DNA tumour viruses, initially at University of London and then as a Human Frontiers Science Program Fellow at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories in New York. Since joining the ICR, Paul has focused on molecular pharmacology of novel inhibitors of signal transduction in cancer, with a particular focus on the discovery and development of HSP90 and PI3 kinase inhibitors. As a member of a multidisciplinary team Paul led the molecular pharmacology and mechanism of action studies that contributed to the development of HSP90 (luminespib; AUY922) and PI3K (pictilisib; GDC-0941) inhibitors that progressed to clinical trials worldwide. More recently Paul led the biology for a collaborative ICR/Merck KGaA WNT pathway project team that discovered potent and selective inhibitors of the mediator complex associated protein kinases, CDK8/19, using phenotypic screening and chemo-proteomics. Paul currently leads drug discovery projects developing selective inhibitors of transcription and mRNA splicing and is working on target identification for ependymoma therapeutics.
Aiden joined the Centre in March 2022 as a Scientific Officer based at the ICR, and have since been working on the ependymoma project. He has experience in cell culture and developing cell based assays. His undergraduate studies were in Biomedicine at Birkbeck, University of London – following this he gained a Master’s degree in Medical Science from The University of Aberdeen where he studied glioblastoma under Prof Heather Wallace.