Amphista Therapeutics Expands Research Team by Appointing Martin O’Rourke as Head of Drug Discovery and James Osborne as Director of Chemistry

Amphista Therapeutics Expands Research Team by Appointing Martin O’Rourke as Head of Drug Discovery and James Osborne as Director of Chemistry


Glasgow, Scotland, 28 June 2021 – Amphista Therapeutics, a Targeted Protein Degradation (TPD) biopharmaceutical company creating first-in-class cancer therapeutics that harness the body’s natural processes to remove disease-causing proteins selectively and efficiently, today announced the addition to their world class team of Martin O’Rourke as Head of Drug Discovery and James Osborne as Director of Chemistry.


Amphista’s Chief Scientific Officer and TPD pioneer Dr Ian Churcher said, “I am delighted to welcome Martin and James to the team. They both bring a wealth of expertise in drug discovery that will be invaluable to further strengthen our team as we progress our TPD pipeline to the clinic following our successful $53M Series B financing round. The funding is also helping us open whole new areas for exploration beyond Amphista’s cancer focus into areas largely inaccessible to the TPD field, such as CNS, with our approach that provides the best of both worlds: great drug like properties and a broad target and tissue scope.”


Amphista’s Head of Drug Discovery, Martin O’Rourke, commented on his appointment, “I’ve always been interested in progressing drug discovery projects in the oncology space. Working at Amphista excites me particularly due to the company’s unique, proprietary approach which builds on the huge promise of TPD while addressing the limitations with current methods. I am looking forward to exploring the opportunities Amphista’s platform provides, working alongside a world class team.”


Most recently, Martin has been a Director in the Oncology Bioscience group at AstraZeneca. As a member of the leadership team there he contributed to oncology strategy, new target selection and project leadership on early-stage projects. Prior to this Martin worked in a global position at Charles River contributing to a wide range of drug discovery projects. Additionally, whilst working in Professor Tracy Robson’s lab at Queen University Belfast, Martin co-invented a peptide therapeutic and, via his role at Almac Discovery, led the biology team to produce data enabling Phase 1 clinical trials. Martin holds a BSc in Applied Biochemical Science and a PhD from the University of Ulster.


James has significant experience in leading projects to delivery of development candidates for both oncology and CNS disorders. In James’s most recent position he led the Discovery function at GW Pharmaceuticals where he was responsible for the delivery of several novel development candidates in the CNS space. James started his career at the Institute of Cancer Research where he was a key contributor to the delivery of the CHK1 clinical candidate SRA737. Since then he has successfully taken project and medicinal chemistry leadership roles at Astex Pharmaceuticals and Charles River Labs, where he worked across several different target classes and therapeutic areas. James holds an MSci in Chemistry and a PhD in organic synthesis, from Nottingham University and completed his postdoctoral studies at the University of Oxford.


Amphista has developed a proprietary broad technology platform with the potential to generate first-in-class small molecules (called ‘Amphistas’) that harness the body’s own protein degradation mechanisms to deliver highly potent pharmacology. Amphista’s unique approach offers the potential to overcome many of the limitations seen with current TPD technologies, providing greater opportunity to treat a wider range of diseases. Amphista is focused on biological targets in oncology and other therapy areas, focusing on the translation of their novel TPD approach for clinical benefit in areas of high unmet need.


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About Amphista Therapeutics


Amphista Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company creating first-in-class therapeutics that harness the body’s natural processes to selectively and efficiently degrade and remove disease-causing proteins. The company’s pipeline of novel targeted protein degradation (TPD)-based medicines is focused on challenging diseases including cancer. Founded by Advent Life Sciences, Amphista is a spin-out of TPD expert Professor Alessio Ciulli’s labs at the University of Dundee. The company has raised approximately £45M to date and is funded by leading life science investors including Forbion, Gilde Healthcare, Novartis Venture Fund, Advent Life Sciences, BioMotiv and Eli Lilly & Company.


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