Page 8 - PERIODIC 2016
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C            hemistry Careers that Change the World








              Chemistry is the central science that helps to solve a huge
              range of global challenges, from drug discovery to clean

              energy. Two of our alumni, Dan Long and Adam Healy, talk to
              Periodic about their careers.


              Dan Long (BA 1995, DPhil 1998) is Vice President,   synthesizing compounds
              Head of Medicinal Chemistry at Theravance          and learnt all I could about
              Biopharma, a biopharmaceutical company located in   medicinal chemistry. I
              San Francisco, CA.  Raised in Solihull UK, he found   took on roles of gradually
                                                                 increasing responsibility,
              organic chemistry fascinating under the tutelage of  working on projects for gastrointestinal (GI) disease,
              Prof Steve Davies and following his Part II with   pain, Hepatitis C, as well as cardiovascular targets and GI
              Prof George Fleet he decided to stay on at Oxford   inflammation.
              to do a DPhil in the same lab.  Dan overlapped with
              Oxford Profs Ben Davis and Martin Smith, his then   In my 15 years at Theravance, the company has changed
                                                                 significantly but at its core has always been interesting
              housemate and later best man at his wedding.       science and great people. We have experienced turbulent
                                                                 times and were affected by the recession in 2008. The
              What made you go into industry?                    team recovered superbly and have had many notable

              My DPhil studies were funded through an EPSRC CASE   successes highlighted by the approval of the antibiotic
              award with GSK. I enjoyed the placement at GSK’s   Vibativ® (2009) and, in collaboration with GSK, both the
              Stevenage site where I collaborated with a former Oxford   combination inhaled respiratory medicines Relvar®/Breo®
              chemistry graduate, Dr. Dan Marquess.  After that, I   Ellipta® and Anoro® Ellipta® (2013). In my current role, I
              thought industry might be a decent place to work and   am responsible for a chemistry team of approximately 25
              make a successful career doing something I enjoyed. First,   internal and 30 external chemists executing on approaches
              I did an industrial post-doc at CombiChem, Inc in San   for our next generation of programs focused on targeted
              Diego US.                                          drug delivery to tissues in the lung and GI tract.
              In 2000, I was set to return to the UK and pursue my
              career there. However, Dan Marquess, whom I had kept in  How has being an Oxford chemist helped you
              touch with, had recently joined Advanced Medicine (the   along the way?
              former name for Theravance) and invited me to interview.   Foremost, Oxford Chemistry provided me with fantastic
              I was really impressed by the incredibly smart team   training in synthetic organic chemistry, the foundation
              (including founders Dr P. Roy Vagelos and Prof George   of any good medicinal chemist. Obviously, Oxford
              Whitesides), the ambitious science of multivalency they   University itself is a well-recognised and respected
              were all so passionate about and the financial backing   institution. Having a background there very quickly
              they had secured. My girlfriend loved San Francisco, so we   establishes professional credibility. Although I have
              decided to embark on a 3-year plan which is still in effect   been based in the US, I have been able to leverage many
              and has taken in the birth of our three boys Jake, Sammy   of my Oxford connections and hosted many excellent
              and Zac.                                           seminars at Theravance from Profs Fleet, Smith, Davis
                                                                 and most recently Darren Dixon. Now, as head of
              Can you tell us a bit about your time at           department, I am eager to further exploit this whether it
              Theravance?                                        be through scientific lectures or more substantial research
               I joined as an entry level PhD scientist in 2001 and   collaborations.
              for the first few years worked really hard in the lab




          8
              Periodic       The Magazine of the Department of Chemistry
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