As a Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry Sam is involved in the development and delivery of the Medicinal Chemistry course that forms an integral part of the new Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) undergraduate degree programme within the College of Medical and Dental Sciences.
Sam joined the university from AstraZeneca where he worked for 8 years. During this time he was 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 therapy that is currently in clinical trials.
In academia Sam will apply the understanding he gained from industry to educate students about medicinal chemistry and drug discovery. He also intends to apply this experience in developing innovative, translational research programmes in collaboration with clinicians and biomedical researchers from other disciplines.
Sam studied for his first degree in chemistry at the University of Manchester. This included a year at SmithKline Beecham in Harlow where he contributed to drug discovery programs targeted towards developing new anti-depressants.
Following completion of his degree he moved to Oxford to undertake a DPhil under the supervision of Prof. Tim Donohoe. During his time at Oxford he developed a new catalytic reaction for the stereoselective synthesis of highly substituted tetrahydrofurans and applied this in natural product synthesis.
After leaving Oxford Sam moved back to the northwest to take a position as a Medicinal Chemist at AstraZeneca, Alderley Park. While at AZ his design and synthetic contributions led to the discovery of a targeted anti-cancer agent that is currently in clinical trials and he made design contributions to 2 further candidate drugs.
While working on earlier-stage projects Sam led AstraZeneca’s strategic activities for 2 Oncology target classes, including developing design principles to target the adenosine site of a sub-set of NAD-utilising enzymes and headed the chemistry evaluation of a screening platform leading to a multi-million dollar collaboration to find leads against undruggable targets.
In addition to this he worked to define screening strategies, conducting HTS work up and led hit-to-lead activities for 4 successful HI/LI projects against several target classes, including developing new analytical approaches to identify hit families and understand selectivity/SAR from HTS data.
He also spent a year working with cross-disciplinary ‘Campaign 1’ delivery teams, responsible for rapid synthesis of kg-scale batches to support late-stage discovery and pre-clinical studies across infection, diabetes and oncology projects, including doing some kg scale synthesis with his own hands.
Over 8 years Sam line-managed teams of up to 6 synthetic chemists including Graduates, PhDs and Post-Docs and led teams of up to 16 chemists in a matrix environment.
In his final role at AstraZeneca Sam was able to apply the broad understanding of drug discovery and biological processes he had developed a role by developing and evaluating both internal and external clinical opportunities in diverse disease areas. In particular this involved leading chemistry input on repositioning projects delivered through strategic collaborations, open innovation platforms and outsourcing.
Butterworth, Sam; Finlay, Maurice Raymond Verschoyle; Ward, Richard Andrew; Kadambar, Vasantha Krishna; Chandrashekar, Reddy C.; Murugan, Andiappan; Redfearn, Heather Marie; Preparation of 2-(2,4,5-substituted-anilino)pyrimidine derivatives as EGFR modulators useful for treating cancer. WO 2013014448.
Carr G., Butterworth S., Walker, P., Reck F., Geng B., Pandarinathan L.: A multi-kilo scale synthesis of (R)-methyl 2-((1r,4R)-4-(tert-butoxycarbonylamino)cyclohexyl)-2-(2-nitrophenylsulfonamido) acetate. Synthesis (2012), 44(6), 875-880.
Donohoe, T. J., Wheelhouse, K. M. P., Lindsay-Scott, P. J., Churchill, G. H., Connolly, M. J., Butterworth, S., Glossop, P. A.: Osmium-Mediated Oxidative Cyclizations: A Study into the Range of Initiators That Facilitate Cyclization. Chemistry - An Asian Journal 2009, 4(8), 1237-1247.
Kaiser, J., van Esseveldt, B. C. J., Segers, M. J. A., van Delft, F. L., Smits, J. M. M., Butterworth, S., Rutjes, F. P. J. T.: Synthesis and aromatization of cyclic enediyne-containing amino acids. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry 2009, 7(4), 695-705.
Donohoe, T. J., Harris, R. M., Butterworth, S., Burrows, J. N., Cowley, A., Parker, J. S.: New osmium-based reagent for the dihydroxylation of alkenes. Journal of Organic Chemistry 2006, 71(12), 4481-4489.
Donohoe, T. J., Butterworth, S.: Oxidative cyclization of diols derived from 1,5-dienes: Formation of enantiopure cis-tetrahydrofurans by using catalytic osmium tetroxide; formal synthesis of (+)-cis-solamin. Angewandte Chemie, International Edition 2005, 44(30), 4766-4768.
Donohoe, T. J., Butterworth, S.: A general oxidative cyclization of 1,5-dienes using catalytic osmium tetroxide. Angewandte Chemie, International Edition 2003, 42(8), 948-951