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Head of Biology


  • Pharmacologist, Wellcome

1996 - 2001

  • Group Leader, Receptor Pharmacology, GlaxoWellcome
  • Project leader, GlaxoWellcome

2001 - 2009

  • Manager, Assay Development & Compound Profiling, GSK
  • Director, Screening & Compound Profiling, GSK

2010 -

  • Head of Biology, Drug Discovery Unit

David has lead responsibility for the quality of output of the compound screening campaigns and underpinning biological characterisation of the hit molecules, including the integrated compound and data management functions. His role encompasses the development of strategies for people, facilities, equipment and information technology that are required to maintain the DDU at the leading edge in providing biological support to drug discovery programs.

David is an innovative and successful pharmacologist with a vocational drive to discover novel drugs.  He has wide ranging expertise across the drug discovery process having devised successful target and hit validation strategies, guided lead identification and compound optimisation and made significant contribution to the selection of 10 clinical candidates across multiple disease areas.  This includes a marketed drug, Veramyst.

David has a strong background in pharmacology associated with drug discovery with over 15 years’ experience within the pharma industry where he established a track record of proposing and critically assessing new targets for drug discovery and repurposing of existing molecules. He has experience in all aspects of early drug discovery including screen design, compound triaging strategies and defining mechanism of action of compounds. He has applied this to a number of target families of receptors including G protein coupled receptors, integrins, nuclear hormone receptors, as well as enzymes such as kinases and proteases.  In each of these families he has driven innovative and pragmatic changes in approach and technologies, delivering multiple pre-clinical and clinical candidates.

At Dundee, David has continued to propose targets in both the disease of the developing world and innovative targets portfolios and works closely with a number of Principal Investigators within the UK and abroad to develop target validation strategies. He has overseen the complete reorganisation of hit discovery since he joined the DDU in 2010, doubling the size of the biology team, establishing a dedicated compound management team and developing and integrating the information technology infrastructure that underpins the quality and robustness required to screen hundreds of thousands of compounds successfully.   His team have carried out over 80 screening campaigns in the last three years.

David is a member of the Medical Research Council’s Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme grant review panel.