Medical chemist brings commercialisation experience to ATMCF role

Professor Paul Stupple has been appointed the Director of TIA’s Australian Translational Medicinal Chemistry Facility (ATMCF), bringing more than 20 years of experience in the global pharmaceutical industry and academia.

Professor Paul Stupple, Director of Australian Translational Medicinal Chemistry Facility. Source: Monash University

He will lead Monash-based ATMCF in optimising small molecules as therapeutic candidates, filling the gap between early-stage research in disease biology and translating discoveries into medicines with commercial value.

Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences Director, Professor Christopher Porter, said ATMCF would benefit from Professor Stupple’s experience in working with global pharmaceutical companies and commercialising medical research.

“Paul has an outstanding track record of advancing projects to clinical development through progression of effective design strategies, development of exceptional teams and an enthusiastic approach to building strong multidisciplinary relationships,” Professor Porter said.

“He is well known to, and respected by, many in the Australian drug discovery landscape and has deep connections nationally and internationally.

“Paul is well-positioned and qualified to build on the success of ATMCF and on behalf of the entire Monash Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, I am delighted to welcome him into this position.”

In his most recent role, Professor Stupple led the Medicinal Chemistry program at the Cancer Therapeutics CRC (CTx)/Canthera Discovery, that was based at Monash, and involved up to 15 medicinal chemists that resulted in two of the largest preclinical licencing agreements made in Australia to date.

The first of the licencing agreements was with Merck, Sharp and Dohme in 2016, with a value of $21 million upfront and potential payments of more than $700 million.

A second research project was licensed to Pfizer in 2018 for $20 million upfront and up to $648 million in milestone payments, resulting in PF-07248144 being nominated as a development candidate.

The candidate is undergoing Phase I clinical trials for potential use in advanced or metastatic solid tumours.

Professor Stupple studied at the University of Oxford and began his career at Pfizer in the UK, before moving to Australia to work at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and later at Monash.

He replaces Professor Jonathan Baell at ATMCF, who leaves the role after more than 10 years to take up a senior appointment overseas.

TIA CEO Dr Stuart Newman said the change in leadership came at an exciting time, with ATMCF well placed to play a role in delivering new Federal Government priorities for developing medical products.

“I look forward to working closely with Paul as he steps in to build on the solid foundation that Jonathan has established,” Dr Newman said.

“I would like to sincerely thank Jonathan for his work in the sector, his expertise and leadership at ATMCF and his many years of support for TIA.”