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Professor Julian Blagg

Deputy Head of Division and Team Leader

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Professor Julian Blagg was head of a medicinal chemistry research team, searching for molecules with the potential to treat cancer. He was also Deputy Head of the Cancer Therapeutics Division as well as Head of Chemistry and Deputy Director of the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit and left the ICR in September 2018.


The work of Professor Julian Blagg and his team is focused on the discovery of small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. This work is conducted in close collaboration with clinical, genetics, biology, structural biology and drug metabolism experts at the ICR and externally.

Professor Blagg studied chemistry at the University of Oxford where he completed his DPhil in 1986—working with Professor Steve Davies on organometallics in organic synthesis. After a two-year Royal Society Fellowship in Geneva working with Professor Wolfgang Oppolzer on asymmetric organic synthesis, he joined Pfizer in 1988 as a medicinal chemistry team leader.

He pursued his interest in drug discovery research at Pfizer, in the US and the UK, for 19 years. His work led to the discovery of multiple clinical development candidates across multiple therapy areas. As well as medicinal chemistry design, he also developed expertise in compound features and physicochemical properties linked to toxicity, and small molecule pharmacokinetics.

Professor Blagg joined the Institute of Cancer Research in 2007 to pursue his research interests in all aspects of medicinal chemistry towards the discovery of safe and effective treatments for cancer patients.

He was Head of Chemistry and Deputy Director of the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit and Deputy Head of the Division of Cancer Therapeutics at The Institute of Cancer Research until September 2018. He serves on scientific advisory boards for several non-for-profit and commercial drug discovery groups. 


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