Innovating against cancer and drug resistance 

Dr Juswinder Singh is a world-renowned computational chemist and drug designer, who received his PhD in Computer-based Drug Design at Birkbeck in 1984. He is the Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Ankaa Therapeutics, pioneering the development of targeted therapies to address drug resistance.  

In 2016, Dr Singh was given the George & Christine Sosnovsky Award for Cancer Research by the American Cancer Society, for leading the development of targeted covalent drugs that are having a transformative impact on the treatment of cancer patients. His other achievements include Founding Avila Therapeutics in 2006 which was sold six years later; raising over $50 million in venture capital and winning the 2013 New England Venture Capital Award; and being cited over 3,000 times in the field of rational drug design. 

Jus speaks about the “steep learning curve” of expanding his knowledge of computers and building on his Biochemistry degree from Sussex University. Soon afterwards, he moved permanently to the USA to pursue opportunities in experimental drug design.  

Asked who has inspired him most in his career and broader life, Jus gave credit to his mother. As a single mother of five, she instilled in Jus the ethos that “education was the means by which to make opportunities”. He added: “To see her resilience, grit and ability to deal with different situations, set an example for me throughout my life”.  

Finally, on Birkbeck, Jus commented: “Birkbeck a great institution gives people opportunities through education, and I can’t speak enough about how important that is. It’s all about opportunities.” 

Listen to the podcast with Jus in full 

A transcription of this podcast is available to read