Fundamentals of Drug Development - an industry led lecture series

15 November 2017
QMUL, Charterhouse Square, London, EC1M 6BQ


The event is co-hosted by Queen Mary University of London's Life Sciences Initiative, and the Centre for Population Genomic Medicine.

Developing pharmaceutical drugs is time and cost intensive; the approximate costs range from $500 million to $1 billion and it takes about 15 years to develop a new drug. In addition, it is a high risk business and only a small percentage of all new molecular entities will ever receive drug approval. The three lectures provide an excellent opportunity to get an insight into the underlying principles of drug development and on how industry reduces attrition and timelines whilst improving clinical success.

The lectures will be given by three industry representatives who have a wealth of expertise in drug development ranging from early stage research to clinical development. The lectures have been designed to ensure that they are suitable for students, postdocs, clinicians, PIs and everyone interested in drug development.

There will be an opportunity to network with attendees and speakers during the coffee break.

Please note that registration deadline is November 8 and that places are being allocated on a first come basis.

For further information please contact Virginia Govoni at v [dot] govoni [at] qmul [dot] ac [dot] uk.


Date: November 15, 2017 from 13:00 to 17:00
Location: Rotblat Lecture Theatre, Joseph Rotblat Building, Charterhouse Square Campus, London, EC1M 6BQ



13:00 - Registration

13:15 - Welcome
Professor Panos Deloukas, Professor of Cardiovascular Genomics & Director of Life Sciences Genomic Health Centre, Queen Mary University of London

13:25 - Identifying disease-modifying targets: lessons from rare disease therapies
Dr Christine Bulawa, Senior Director - Pfizer Rare Disease Research Unit, Cambridge, MA

14:15 - Early phase drug discovery - designing the right molecule
Dr Phil Jeffrey, Pharma Consultant, Hygamp

15:15 – Coffee break and networking

The Shield Café

16:00 - Preclinical to Clinical translations including case studies
Dr Nick Clarke, Head of UK Academic Partnerships, External Science & Innovation, Pfizer Worldwide Research & Development

16:45 - Closing Remarks

Professor Bill Spence, Vice-Principal (Research) and Interim Director Life Sciences Initiative, Queen Mary University of London




Dr Christine Bulawa PhD, Senior Director - Pfizer Rare Disease Research Unit, Cambridge, MA

Chris joined Pfizer in 2010 and currently oversees portfolio programs as well as external collaborations with academic organizations and patient advocacy groups. Chris began her industrial career at Millennium Pharmaceuticals where she led research and discovery for novel antifungal therapies. She later joined FoldRx Pharmaceuticals, focused on diseases caused by protein misfolding, where Chris was Director of Research, managing a diverse portfolio of pre-clinical programs encompassing both genetic and neurodegenerative diseases. She contributed to the development of tafamidis, a first in class drug to treat transthyretin amyloidosis, now marketed by Pfizer. In addition, she has been a principal investigator on translational collaborations funded by patient advocacy groups, including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Michael J Fox Foundation, Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance, Ataxia UK, and the Wellcome Trust. Chris received her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin and completed her post-doctoral training at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Dr Phil Jeffrey, Pharma Consultant, Hygamp

Phil Jeffrey BSc, MSc, PhD is an independent consultant with over 35 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Phil has a successful track record in drug discovery from early lead optimisation through to clinical proof of mechanism and proof of concept. Formerly Head of Translational Sciences in the Rare Diseases Research Unit at Pfizer, he has worked for The Upjohn Company, SmithKlineBeecham and GlaxoSmithKline across a wide variety of therapeutic areas including; autoimmunity, inflammation, CNS, anti-infectives, epigenetics, cardiovascular and rare diseases. Phil has a PhD in drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics from the University of Sheffield and has authored/co-authored over 50 papers and 4 book chapters. His current scientific interests include the modelling and prediction of clinical pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamic response from preclinical data.


Dr Nick Clarke, Head of UK Academic Partnerships, External Science & Innovation at Pfizer

Nick is based in the UK to lead Pfizer’s interactions with the academic & medical institutions of the Global Medicines Excellence Cluster (GMEC) in the Pfizer Rare Disease Consortium and the broader Research Unit relationships with all UK institutions.

Nick has a wide breadth of experience across the preclinical and clinical phase of drug development and in a variety of therapeutic areas including allergy, respiratory, inflammation and rare disease. Nick has over 20 years pharmaceutical and 5 years academic experience and obtained his PhD in Anatomical Neuropharmacology at the University of Oxford in 1997 following his Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacology.