Centre for Synthetic Biology and the Bioeconomy

Staff Profile

Professor Mike Waring

Professor of Medicinal Chemistry


Scopus ID: 7102782045; ORCID ID: 0000-0002-9110-8783 

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Roles and Responsibilities

My research interests are concerned with the broad field of medicinal chemistry.  I lead the medicinal chemistry in the Drug Discovery Programme at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research – a Cancer Research UK Drug Discovery Centre.  I am a member of the Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology Research Area.

I teach in the Drug Metabolism and Toxicology (Stage 3) modules of the Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry (BSc and MChem) and Drug Chemistry (MSc) degree programmes.

Awards and Esteem

2022 European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry UCB-Ehrlich Prize

for excellence in medicinal chemistry

2018 American Chemical Society Hero of Chemistry

for the discovery of the mutant EGFR inhibitor osimertinib (Tagrisso), a treatment for resistant forms of non-small cell lung cancer.

2017 Royal Society of Chemistry Malcolm Campbell Medal

for excellence in biological and medicinal chemistry.

2017 Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry

2014 Royal Society of Chemistry Inaugural Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Sector Lectureship

in recognition of outstanding contributions to medicinal chemistry.

2010 Royal Society of Chemistry Capps Green Zomaya Memorial Medal

for outstanding contributions to medicinal chemistry and outstanding success in bringing medicines to the clinic.

2010 European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry Prize

for an outstanding young medicinal chemist in industry (runner up).


BSc(Hons), First Class, in Chemistry 1996 (University of Manchester)

PhD in Organic Chemistry 1999 (University of Manchester) with Prof. T. J. Donohoe

Previous Positions

April 2011 – August 2015: Principal Scientist in Medicinal Chemistry at AstraZeneca, Alderley Park, UK.

July 2001 – March 2011: Team Leader in Medicinal Chemistry at AstraZeneca, Alderley Park, UK

January 2000 - July 2001: Post-doctoral researcher in the group of Prof. P. D. Magnus, University of Texas at Austin, USA.



Anti-cancer drug discovery

Within the Cancer Research UK Drug Discovery Programme, we run a portfolio of 6-8 projects focused on identifying new molecules for novel cancer targets in areas of unmet medical need.  These projects involve cutting-edge structure based drug design and employ modern methods for hit generation and optimisation.  The programme is run in collaboration with Astex Pharmaceuticals.

Development of chemical probes

We aim to develop small-molecule chemical probes for new protein targets for which no such probes exist and to work in collaboration to use these probes to elucidate new biology, with the aim of validating new therapeutic targets.

Tumour Targeting

The selective delivery of cytotoxic chemotherapy to tumour cells remains a key challenge in the treatment of cancer.  One of our interests is the development of new approaches to achieve this goal using small-molecules and antibodies as targeting agents.

New methods of hit generation

The identification of small-molecule ligands for protein targets remains a slow step in the medicinal chemistry and chemical biology fields.  We are interested in developing new methods for hit generation and optimisation, which could be applied generally to make this faster and increase success rates.


Our Research is funded by Cancer Research UKPancreatic Cancer Research Fund, EPSRC, Wellcome TrustAstex Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca, Genentech and Newcastle University.  We are very grateful for their generous support.  Funded opportunities will be advertised when available.  Should you wish to seek independent funding to work in the group, we will work with you to support your applications.


CHY3109/3110/8822 - Stage 3 Medicinal Chemistry - Drug Metabolism and Toxicology.