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Professor Paul Workman appointed as ICR Chief Executive

Professor Paul Workman has been appointed as Chief Executive and President of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, on a permanent basis.

Professor Workman was the unanimous choice of the ICR’s Board of Trustees after a global search that attracted top-class international candidates.

He will take up his new position, with responsibility for driving forward the vision for the ICR’s world-class programmes of research, innovation and education, with immediate effect.

Professor Workman was previously Deputy Chief Executive of the ICR, and has served as Interim Chief Executive since 1 July. He will continue to serve as Head of the Division of Cancer Therapeutics and Director of the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit until a successor is appointed. The ICR will be carrying out an international search for a new Head and Director of Therapeutics as soon as possible.

Luke Johnson, Chairman of the ICR, said: “Professor Workman is a highly experienced, internationally respected leader, with an outstanding track record in the discovery and molecular pharmacology of new cancer drugs. He will make a superb Chief Executive for the ICR and I am delighted he has accepted the role. I am also extremely grateful to him for discharging his duties as Interim Chief Executive at the same time as retaining his other roles.”

Professor Workman said: “It is an incredible honour for me to take the helm at one of the world’s most influential cancer research organisations, and I am determined to repay the faith that has been shown in me by driving further advances for cancer patients.

“I will be taking over as Chief Executive in exciting times for the ICR, with world-class programmes in basic cancer research, genetics and innovative drug discovery, a pioneering Centre for Evolution and Cancer, and ambitions to lead the world in precision radiotherapy. I want to see us draw on these many strengths and our fantastic and dedicated researchers – while also bringing in new research leaders for both our basic and patient-centred cancer research – in order to discover new treatments that can overcome the major challenge of cancer evolution and drug resistance.

“I believe that through our world-class research and education we will make innovative and creative discoveries to defeat cancer. By working through collaborative team science within the ICR, and increasingly in partnership with other leading organisations, we can deliver transformative change for the benefit of cancer patients.”

Professor Workman is a world-leading cancer researcher and a passionate advocate of personalised, precision treatment for cancer, who has successfully built multidisciplinary drug discovery and development teams in the academic, large pharma and biotech company sectors.

Early in his career Professor Workman worked as an academic researcher at the Universities of Cambridge and Glasgow, and at Stanford University in the US, after which he took a senior scientific leadership position at AstraZeneca.

In 1997, Professor Workman moved to the ICR to take over and build up what is now the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit. Under his leadership, the unit has identified 17 preclinical drug candidates since 2005, and progressed seven of its drugs into clinical trials.

The unit has conducted many of its drug discovery projects in partnership with industry and Professor Workman was also a scientific founder of the biotech companies Chroma Therapeutics in 2000 and Piramed Pharma in 2002.

Professor Sir Tom Blundell, Deputy Chairman of the ICR’s Board of Trustees, said: “Professor Workman is a world-leading scientist with a persuasive vision for how basic, translational and clinical cancer researchers can work together to deliver transformative change for patients. He will apply the experience and skills he has gained in team science, through his leadership of large drug discovery groups in academia and industry, to the benefit of the whole of the ICR.”

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