Northern Institute for Cancer Research

Staff Profile

Professor Ian Hickson

Prof of Cancer Drug Discovery Bioscience



I obtained my PhD in Oncology from the Paterson Institute, Manchester, where I studied the use of modified DNA repair enzymes to reduce toxicity in patients undergoing chemotherapy. Following post-doctoral studies in the role of non-transcribed genes in breast cancer metastasis, I began my career in Drug Discovery with KuDOS Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, UK. Working on PARP, DNA-PK, ATM and ATR in the DNA damage response field and mTOR survival signalling, I was responsible for bioscience in the discovery, translation and early clinical development programs leading to a number of small molecules that have undergone clinical testing. 

I moved to Belgium in 2008 to join Janssen Pharmaceutica, the European pharmaceutical division of Johnson and Johnson, and led drug discovery projects in the areas of kinase inhibition, deubiquitylases, protein:protein interactions, transcription factors and nuclear hormone receptors. I also provided preclinical bioscience support for the development of the HDAC inhibitor quisinostat and the prostate cancer therapeutics, Zytiga (abiraterone acetate) and apalutamide (ARN-509). In 2013, I moved to the US to lead Janssen’s small molecule bioscience for Prostate Cancer, work resulting in the discovery of a novel pan antagonist of the androgen receptor, TRC253.

I have 20 years of bioscience experience in Oncology research, over 15 years of which have been in drug discovery within the pharmaceutical industry; my goal now is to identify the next drugs to bring benefit to cancer patients. The NICR team are united in that goal!


Head of Drug Discovery Bioscience


BSc (Hons) Biochemistry, Bath University, 1994

PhD Oncology, University of Manchester, 1998


Principal Scientist, Oncology Research, Janssen; 2013 – 2016, Spring House PA, USA

Principal Scientist, Oncology Research, Janssen; 2008 – 2013, Beerse, Belgium

Team Leader, KuDOS Pharmaceuticals, 2004 – 2008

Senior Scientist, KuDOS Pharmaceuticals, 2000 – 2004


American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)

American Chemical Society (ACS)

Belgian Society of Environmental Mutagenesis (BEMS)

European School of Oncology (ESO)