May 4th, 2015 – Axxam SpA (Milan/Italy), a privately owned contract research and discovery company, announced today that Dr. Russell Thomas has joined the company as Director of Discovery Research. Russell brings to Axxam considerable industry experience that spans from target discovery to clinical proof of concept at Siena Biotech, Proteros, Evotec and GlaxoWellcome.
Russell is joining Axxam from Siena Biotech, where he was initially head of Medicinal Chemistry, before becoming Director of Project Operations and External Alliances and more recently General Manager. In these various roles Russell guided a range of neuroscience and oncology projects from initial hit validation and subsequent optimization, leading to a number of preclinical and clinical candidates. He is one of the inventors of selisistat, which is currently progressing through clinical trials as a potential disease modifying approach to Huntington’s disease.
During his time at Proteros, in the role of Vice President of Lead Discovery, Russell had strategic responsibility for all existing and potential new collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotech partners and played a key role in the start-up of Rodin Therapeutics with Atlas Venture.
At Evotec, as a Department Head in Medicinal Chemistry, Russell was responsible for guiding a range of discovery alliances with international pharmaceutical and biotech companies. These alliances led to the delivery of a number of preclinical and clinical candidates.
In the seven years that Russell spent at Glaxo, subseqently GlaxoWellcome, he worked as a senior medicinal chemist, mainly in the field of antibacterials. Originally from Swansea in Wales, he obtained a Ph.D in synthetic organic chemistry in the group of Prof. Stan Roberts at Exeter University, after graduating in Chemistry from the University of Kent.