Professor of Translational Medicine, Head of Structural Genomics Consortium, University of Oxford
SGC Oxford Chief Scientist
Chas Bountra, PhD
Chas is Professor of Translational Medicine in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine and Associate Member of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Oxford. He is also a Visiting Professor in Neuroscience and Mental Health at Imperial College, London. Chas is an invited expert on several government and charitable research funding bodies, and an advisor for many academic, biotech and pharma drug discovery programmes.
Prior to coming back to Oxford, Chas was Vice President and Head of Biology at GlaxoSmithKline. He was involved in the identification of more than 40 clinical candidates for many gastro-intestinal, inflammatory and neuro-psychiatric diseases. More than 20 of these molecules progressed into patient studies and more than five of these delivered successful “Proof of Concept” data and hence progressed into late stage development. He was involved in the launch and development of the first treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Alosetron) and was the first to show that neurokinin NK1 antagonists are anti-emetic in preclinical and clinical studies.
His current interests are i) using X ray structures of novel human proteins to generate small molecule inhibitors, screening in human cells to identify novel targets for drug discovery, and then developing clinical candidates for evaluation in patients, pre-competitively ii) focussing on epigenetic and genetically identified proteins, because these are likely to represent better targets for drug discovery, for many cancer, inflammatory, metabolic and neuro-psychiatric diseases iii) working with colleagues in Oxford to build major programmes in rare diseases and in Alzheimers Disease, and creating a “BioEscalator” for the rapid translation of SGC science and iv) building stronger links with local hospitals, patient groups, regulatory agencies, private investors, CROs, biotechs and large pharma companies, to create a new, more efficient ecosystem for pioneer drug discovery.
Chas believes the SGC has become a leader in human protein structural biology and epigenetics chemical biology, and is arguably one of the most successful open innovation, public – private partnerships in the world. Furthermore, with the many recent local developments (Target Discovery Institute, Kennedy Institute, Dementia Institute), he believes Oxford is emerging as one of the major academic drug discovery centres in Europe.
He has given over 300 invited lectures. In 2012 he was voted one of the “top innovators in the industry”.