Paul Workman (scientist)

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Paul Workman
Born 1952
Workington, Cumbria, England
Occupation Scientist
Known for Cancer drugs

Paul Workman (born 1952 in Workington, Cumbria) is a British scientist noted for his work in the discovery and development of new cancer drugs.[1]

Workman, Harrap Professor of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, is Deputy Chief Executive of the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), Director of its Division of Cancer Therapeutics and Director of its Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit.[2] On 1 July 2014 Workman will be taking over as Interim Chief Executive at Institute of Cancer Research.[3]

Early life[edit]

Workman completed his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and his PhD in Cancer Pharmacology at the University of Leeds. He received an Honorary DSc from the University of Leicester in 2009 and was appointed Deputy CEO of the ICR in March 2011.[4]

The early part of his career was spent establishing a cancer pharmacology laboratory at the Medical Research Council's Clinical Oncology Unit at the University of Cambridge.[4]


Workman joined the ICR in 1997 to develop its Cancer Therapeutics Unit.[4] Work in his preceding role at AstraZeneca led to the development of one of the first targeted medicines gefitinib (Iressa™), which was approved for use in non-small cell lung cancer in 2003.[5] Workman’s team collaborates with The Royal Marsden to bring new treatments to patients through clinical trials.[6] Prostate cancer drug abiraterone, which was approved for use in the US and Europe in 2011, was developed by Workman’s Cancer Therapeutics Unit.[2] Overall, since 2005, the Cancer Therapeutic Unit has discovered 17 drug candidates, seven of which have progressed to the patient trial stage. Workman has attributed this record to “taking early academic risks, combining academic and pharmaceutical expertise, and implementing strong leadership and project management. Other contributing factors include running multiple projects on a competitive scale, establishing long-term financial support and — most important — selecting productive and timely industrial collaborations.”[7] Income from these drugs has helped push The Institute of Cancer Research into second place, behind the University of Cambridge, for income earned from intellectual property. Adjusted for size, the organisation ranks first among UK higher education institutions for IP income.[8]

He has published over 560 research articles,[9] and, together with his team, was awarded the American Association of Cancer Research Team Science Award in 2012 for achievements in drug discovery.[10][11] Workman received the Royal Society of Chemistry 2012 Chemistry World Entrepreneur of the Year Award for his success at taking pioneering cancer drugs from the laboratory into commercial development.[12]

Research on Phosphoinositide 3-kinase inhibitors, led by Workman and Dr. Florence Raynaud at the ICR, was selected as one of 16 studies to have had the greatest impact on patients, according to Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.[13]

Workman is currently working on drugs that block molecules essential for the growth and survival of cancer cells, in particular, molecular chaperones such as Hsp90.[14]

He is also founder of biotechnology companies Chroma Therapeutics[15] and Piramed Pharma, which was sold to Roche in 2008.[16][17]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • 1991 appointed a Cancer Research UK Life Fellow[18]
  • 2002 elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences[19]
  • 2010 elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry[20]
  • 2010 received the Royal Society of Chemistry George and Christine Sosnovsky Award in Cancer Therapy[21]
  • 2012 AACR Team Science Award (Paul Workman, Team Leader)[22][23]
  • 2012 winner Chemistry World Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Royal Society of Chemistry[24]
  • 2013 awarded Cancer Research UK Translational Cancer Research Prize (with structural biology collaborator Professor Laurence Pearl)[25]
  • 2014 awarded Raymond Bourgine Award for “exceptional contributions to oncology”. [26]
  • 2014 elected Fellow of the European Academy of Cancer Sciences [27]


  1. ^ "Prof Paul Workman : Cancer Research UK". 2009-09-17. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  2. ^ a b "Division of Cancer Therapeutics". 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  3. ^ "Professor Paul Workman appointed Interim Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research". 2013-05-23. Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  4. ^ a b c "Professor Paul Workman". Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  5. ^ "FDA Drug Approval Summary: Gefitinib (ZD1839) (Iressa®) Tablets". Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  6. ^ "Partners". The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  7. ^ "Academia and industry: Successes for UK cancer partnership". Nature. 2014-06-11. Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  8. ^ "ICR tops rankings for invention income earned from its research". 2014-06-11. Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  9. ^ "Publications by Category". 2012-03-16. doi:10.1038/leu.2012.52. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  10. ^ "AACR Team Science Award". Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  11. ^ "US Cancer Medicines". Reuters. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "ICR drug discovery highlighted for patient impact". 2011-11-11. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  14. ^ "SABCS 2010: Molecular chaperones: cancer dependence and druggability - Prof Paul Workman - The Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton, UK". Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Our Scientific Advisory Board | Discovery_laboratories | Discovery | Cancer Research Technology Ltd | CRT". Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  19. ^ "The Academy of Medical Sciences | Directory of Fellows". Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  20. ^ "Cancer Drug Researcher Receives Royal Society of Chemistry Award - ICR Global Foundation". 2010-06-04. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  21. ^ "2010 Winner The George and Christine Sosnovsky Award in Cancer Therapy- Paul Workman". Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  22. ^ "AACR Team Science Award". Retrieved 2012-04-04. 
  23. ^ "US Cancer Medicines". Reuters. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Cancer researchers honoured". Research Fortnight. 2013-06-11. Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  26. ^ "Oncology: Pierre Fabre sponsors the Bourgine Prize". Pierre Fabre. 2014-06-02. Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  27. ^ "Fellows Directory". European Academy of Cancer Sciences. 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2012-06-24.