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Internationally Renowned Medicinal Chemist Professor Chris McGuigan Appointed as NuCana's Chief Scientific Officer

EDINBURGH, Scotland, July 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

Inventor of ProTide technology joins NuCana team 

NuCana, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company using proprietary ProTide technology to develop and commercialise a portfolio of novel anti-cancer medicines, today announced the appointment of Professor Chris McGuigan as Chief Scientific Officer.

Professor McGuigan was the original inventor of the ProTide technology. He is currently Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He is also the Chair of the Life Sciences Hub Wales Ltd, having been appointed by the Welsh Government's Economy Minister in 2014. Professor McGuigan has more than 30 years' experience in phosphoramidate (ProTide) chemistry and has generated more than 4,500 new chemical entities. In 2001 he was the co-recipient of the prestigious Descartes Prize for outstanding scientific achievement in the field of ProTide chemistry. He has an internationally renowned reputation for his academic work and has published more than 225 scientific papers. In addition, he has worked closely with the life sciences industry to apply his skills to develop a series of new medicines.

Hugh Griffith, NuCana's Chief Executive Officer, said: "We are delighted that Chris has chosen to join our team. He is the inventor of the ProTide technology and one of the world's most respected medicinal chemists. As we announced at ASCO, our first ProTide, Acelarin, is entering Phase III studies and our wider product portfolio continues to exceed all expectations. We look forward to benefitting from Chris's leading scientific knowledge as we further develop and target the commercialisation of our ProTide technology in oncology."

Professor Chris McGuigan, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the inventor of the ProTide technology, added: "The ProTide technology has been successfully applied to antiviral nucleosides, by companies such as Gilead, with remarkable improvements in efficacy and tolerability. NuCana is advancing this exciting technology into oncology and the results from the recently completed Phase I/II study have shown the potential of ProTides to define a new era in cancer treatment."

About NuCana 

NuCana® is a rapidly growing, clinical stage biopharmaceutical company with a broad development portfolio of novel anti-cancer medicines. The Company's proprietary ProTide technology has the potential to set new benchmarks in efficacy and safety with its treatments that are specifically designed to overcome key cancer resistance mechanisms. Acelarin® is NuCana's lead medicine and was the first ProTide to enter the clinic in October 2010. Acelarin achieved exceptional levels of disease control in a broad range of patients with advanced, rapidly progressing solid tumours. Global Phase III studies with Acelarin are currently being planned in ovarian, biliary and pancreatic cancers. Privately held, NuCana, which raised $57 million in a Series B financing in April 2014, is backed by world-leading investors including Sofinnova Partners, Sofinnova Ventures, Morningside Ventures, Alida Capital International and the Scottish Investment Bank.

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About ProTides 

ProTides are first in class pre-activated anti-cancer agents, with a protective phosphoramidate group that allows the medicine to bypass the key tumour resistance mechanisms that limit the activity of many current chemotherapy drugs. Acelarin is the first ProTide in oncology to be brought to the clinic. The innovative ProTide chemistry is a technology platform that can be applied to all nucleoside analogues. Gilead's ProTide, Sovaldi®, has shown the potential of this new class of medicines for antiviral therapy.

About Professor McGuigan 

Chris McGuigan is Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in Cardiff University and Chairman of the Life Sciences Research Network Wales. He received his PhD from Birmingham University and has worked in the UK and North America in drug design and development for over 30 years. He is inventor of the ProTide technology and has applied this to generate new anticancer and antiviral medicines. Professor McGuigan has supervised 45 PhD students and 50 researchers have trained in his laboratories. He has over 225 scientific publications and over 50 patents. He has also invented four New Chemical Entities, including Acelarin, that have entered clinical studies. He serves on the Boards of Synergy Pharmaceuticals, Contravir and Tiziana. Professor McGuigan leads the £15 million National Research Network in drug discovery and development for the Welsh Government.

For more information, please contact  

Hugh S. Griffith
T: +44-131-248-3660

Consilium Strategic Communications 

Mary-Jane Elliott
Ivar Milligan
Matthew Neal
T: +44-203-709-5700

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