Professor Simon MacKay

Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Personal statement

Simon Mackay is the Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Science at the University of Strathclyde and has 25 years’ experience of research and teaching in the application of medicinal chemistry to drug discovery. He is a graduate of the University of Bath (BPharm (Hons); 1984) and the University of Manchester (PhD Medicinal Chemistry; 1990). In terms of research, his primary interest is cancer drug discovery, and he is the Principal Investigator for a £3.0M CRUK-funded programme to identify small molecule inhibitors for the treatment of prostate cancer (, which involves leading and co-ordinating a multidisciplinary team including medicinal chemists, phytochemists, biochemists, pharmacologists and clinicians. This programme has recently been funded by Prostate Cancer UK and MRC.  He is also involved in a kinesin drug discovery project with collaborators at UCL to identify new Eg5 inhibitors.   He has led the medicinal chemistry team for a number of industry-funded drug discovery projects, including the identification of non-steroidal neuroprotective compounds for Hunter-Fleming, PTP1B inhibitors for Kyorin Pharmaceutical and the £9.3M drug discovery programme targeting the Ubiquitin Proteasome System, funded by Scottish Enterprise.

He is a co-founder of (, an EPSRC-BBSRC- MRC initiative to establish an academia-Users Network in Chemical Biology to initiate, establish and nurture collaborative projects for the advancement of the drug discovery process. This links with the Drug Discovery Portal (DDP, which is a major strategic initiative in international research and knowledge-exchange at the University of Strathclyde that brings together the rich, but currently isolated resources in drug research in academic institutions worldwide and provides an accessible central resource to allow chemists and biologists to boost their current drug discovery research efforts.

Over the past 5 years, he has attracted over £4.8M of external funding on drug discovery projects.

In addition to being a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, he is on the Expert Advisory Panel for Pharmaceutical Science and the Translational Biology Directorate of the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance. He is the external examiner for degree programmes in drug discovery and phamacy at the University of Edinburgh and Robert Gordons University. He is a member of the Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy Panel for the Research Excellence Framework 2014.


Inhibitory Kappa B kinase α (IKKα) inhibitors that recapitulate their selectivity in cells against isoform-related biomarkers
Anthony Nahoum G, Baiget Jessica, Berretta Giacomo, Boyd Marie, Breen David, Edwards Joanne, Gamble Carly, Gray Alexander I, Harvey Alan L, Hatziieremia Sophia, Ho Ka Ho, Huggan Judith K, Lang Stuart, Llona-Minguez Sabin, Luo Jia Lin, McIntosh Kathryn, Paul Andrew, Plevin Robin J, Robertson Murray N, Scott Rebecca, Suckling Colin J, Sutcliffe Oliver Brook, Young Louise C, MacKay Simon P
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry Vol 60, pp. 7043-7066 (2017)
Synthetic biological approaches for RNA labelling and imaging : design principles and future opportunities
Pauff Steven, Withers Jamie M, McKean Iain JW, Mackay Simon P, Burley Glenn A
Current Opinion in Biotechnology Vol 48, pp. 153-158 (2017)
Utility of a mechanistic model to investigate the uptake of rosuvastatin in human hepatocytes and time-dependent inhibition of cyclosporine A and cyclosporine AM1.
Hobbs Michael, MacKay Simon, Grant Mary, Bloomer J
13th European ISSX meeting, pp. 82 (2015)
Pyrrole-imidazole polyamides : manual solid-phase synthesis
Pauff Steven M, Fallows Andrew J, Mackay Simon P, Su Wu, Cullis Paul M, Burley Glenn A
Current Protocols in Nucleic Acid Chemistry (2015) (2015)
The discovery and development of Eg5 inhibitors for the clinic
Good James A D, Berretta Giacomo, Anthony Nahoum G, Mackay Simon P
Kinesins and Cancer (2015) (2015)
Oligoamides of 2-amino-5-alkylthiazole 4-carboxylic acids : anti-trypanosomal compounds
Lang Stuart, Khalaf Abedawn I, Breen David, Huggan Judith, Clements Carol, MacKay Simon, Suckling Colin
Medicinal Chemistry Research Vol 23, pp. 1170-1179 (2014)

more publications

Professional activities

Prostate Cancer UK (External organisation)
REF (External organisation)
Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science
Invited speaker
Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Invited speaker
Finland Academy of Science (External organisation)

more professional activities


CRUK evaluation of IKK inhibitors
MacKay, Simon (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2018
David Begg / NSF Studentship | Webb, Cameron
Perrie, Yvonne (Principal Investigator) MacKay, Simon (Co-investigator) Webb, Cameron (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 01-Jan-2021
Prevention of CXCL12 production in cells of the cardiovascular system by IKK alpha inhibition (BHF PhD Studentship)
Plevin, Robin (Principal Investigator) Coats, Paul (Co-investigator) MacKay, Simon (Co-investigator) Paul, Andrew (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 30-Jan-2021
Identification of pre-clinical SK1 inhibitors for the treatment of Pulmonary Hypertension
Pyne, Nigel (Principal Investigator) MacKay, Simon (Co-investigator) Pyne, Susan (Co-investigator)
26-Jan-2013 - 25-Jan-2014
First-in-class drugs for CRPC
MacKay, Simon (Principal Investigator) Boyd, Marie (Co-investigator) Paul, Andrew (Co-investigator) Plevin, Robin (Co-investigator) Suckling, Colin (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2013 - 30-Jan-2016
Neuroprotective compounds acting as antagonists at A2a receptors
MacKay, Simon (Principal Investigator)
20-Jan-2012 - 09-Jan-2012

more projects


Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
Robertson Wing

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