Sam joined the university as a Senior Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry in November 2016. Prior to this he worked at the University of Birmingham from 2013 and at AstraZeneca from 2005-2013. During this time he has been accountable for chemistry strategy and delivery for all phases of discovery projects through externalised pre-portfolio collaborations, HTS, Lead Generation, Lead Optimisation to Pre-clinical development. His work at AstraZeneca led to the development of a targeted anti-cancer agent AZD9291, that was approved by the FDA in November 2015 and is now used internationally under the name osimertinib/Tagrisso. As of 2018 this drug has been used to treat >30,000 patients worldwide, and along with his colleagues Sam has been recognised for this work through the 2017 RSC Malcolm Campbell Award and the 2018 ACS Heroes of Chemistry award (see link above).
The Butterworth group work on applying synthetic and biological chemistry to study and solve biological problems of relevance to human health. One key theme of this work is the utilization of the cell’s biological machinery to selectively activate molecules to kill cancer cells with specific mutations, or to selectively reprogram the activity of key immune cells. All projects are conducted in collaboration with biomedical researchers and clinicians, allowing testing of compounds in the most relevant biological models.