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Chas Bountra

Pro-Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Professor of Translational Medicine

Chas Bountra, PhD

Chas is Pro-Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Professor of Translational Medicine at the University of Oxford. He is Director of the Centre for Medicines Discovery in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine and Associate Member of the Department of Pharmacology. 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 in 2008, Chas was Vice President and Head of Biology at GlaxoSmithKline. He was involved in the identification of >40 clinical candidates for many gastro-intestinal, inflammatory and neuro-psychiatric diseases. More than 20 of these molecules progressed into patient studies and >5 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.

As Director of  SGC-Oxford (2008 - mid 2020) he established a leading research group in human protein structural biology and epigenetics chemical biology, and arguably one of the most successful open innovation, public-private partnerships  in the world. To date this team has purified >1700 novel human proteins, and generated 3D structures of >900 soluble and >30 integral membrane proteins. They have also created >30 ‘Target Enabling Packages’ for new genetically identified drug targets for novel therapeutically relevant proteins, and developed >50 novel highly selective inhibitors for novel ‘epigenetic proteins’. These novel tools have been shared with >8000 academic labs or companies, have led to >600 peer reviewed publications by team members, and have enabled > 2000 others.  Some vendor companies have sold these tools to several thousand other labs.  The novelty and high quality of these research tools, and the immediate and open dissemination of all associated data and knowledge, has catalysed new, reproducible science, at an unprecedented scale across the globe.  

As the Director of the newly created Centre for Medicines Discovery (mid 2020 - ), he is focussed on:

-        exploiting novel genomic outputs

-        generating high quality research tools to enable the discovery of new drug targets (for neuro-degenerative, inflammatory, cardio-metabolic, psychiatric, infectious and rare diseases, and cancers)

-        accessing and developing new technology platforms to accelerate these endeavours

-        working with industry, disease foundation, venture capital and philanthropic partners, to rapidly identify new clinical candidates

-        engaging clinical colleagues to advance such assets into novel Experimental Medicine studies, incorporating new biomarkers and new patient stratification methodologies

-        exploring new processes, technologies and partnerships to make new medicines more accessible

-        training future academic and industry leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs.

 

Recent publications

More publications