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Prestigious drug research award presented to King's Professor

Posted on 12/05/2014
Professor Bob Hider, Emeritus Professor of Medicinal Chemistry

Professor Bob Hider, Emeritus Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at King’s College London, has been presented with a prestigious award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to drug research. 

Established by Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the Hanbury Memorial Award is made every five years and recognises ‘high excellence in the prosecution or promotion of original research in the natural history and chemistry of drugs.’ 

Professor Hider is a recognised world expert on the chemical synthesis and development of iron chelating medicines. He has published over 350 refereed publications and is the holder of 21 patents. In the last five years he has been awarded more than £1.3 million in research grants.

He designed deferiprone, the world’s first orally active iron chelating drug, which is in global use for the treatment of thalassaemia. He also has a further two compounds in clinical trials. Thalassaemia is the most prevalent inherited single-gene disorder in the world and life-saving therapy for this disease involves a combination of blood transfusion and iron chelation. 

Deferiprone is an oral treatment and revolutionised the treatment of thalassemia, particularly in the developing world, where the previous treatment of continuous infusion could be problematic. Deferiprone is also of great use for those with cardiac problems as it can remove excess iron from the heart. 

Professor Peter Hylands, Head of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Science at King’s, commented: ‘I was delighted to hear that Bob has been presented with the Hanbury Memorial Award.  He has led an exceptionally distinguished career that demonstrates a tangible example of translational research in the area of pharmaceutical science.  This esteemed honour is a fitting tribute.’

Professor Hider’s team have also developed methods for the synthesis and analysis of markers of iron chelation therapy that are being used in clinical trials by Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Vifor Pharma and by clinicians. 

Several neurodegenerative diseases are associated with elevated brain iron levels and the use of deferiprone is also being investigated in clinical trials by ApoPharma and hospitals in the UK and France.

The award was presented last week at The Royal Society during the launch of the new Royal Pharmaceutical Society guide to pharmaceutical science, New Medicines, Better Medicines, Better Use of Medicines. 

The Hanbury Memorial Award is supported by Pharmacy Research UK.

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