Professor Alex Matter, M.D.
CEO, Experimental Therapeutics Centre, A*STAR, Singapore
Professor Alex Matter, M.D., is CEO of the Experimental Therapeutics Centre, A*STAR, Singapore, having spent five and a half years as Director of the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD), from October 2003 to February 2009. Prior to this role, Dr. Matter was Global Head of Oncology Research for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Head of Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research in Basel and Global Head of Translational Research.
Dr. Matter played an important role in the success of several anticancer drugs, including Gleevec/Glivec®and more recently, Tasigna®, building and leading the teams that discovered these and several other anticancer drugs as well as one HIV protease inhibitor (Reyataz®) that is marketed by another company.
Dr. Matter received his medical degree from the University of Basel. He also had fellowships at the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss Academy for Medical Sciences. He has published more than 100 scientific articles and several book chapters in the area of oncology and hematology. He is emeritus Professor of the Medical Faculty of the University Basel and an Honorary Adjunct Professor of the Department of Pharmacology, YLL School of Medicine, NUS in Singapore.
He is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research, the National Medical Research Council in Singapore, and the Board of Curiox, a Singapore-based start up company. He is also an elected member of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences. Dr. Matter is the recipient of the 13th Warren-Alpert prize and the AACR-Bruce F. Cain Memorial Award.
Thomas Keller, Ph.D.
Deputy Director, Medicinal Chemistry
Thomas did his PhD in organic synthesis at the University of British Columbia under supervision of Prof Larry Weiler, followed by post-doctoral studies at the University of Geneva in the group of Prof Wolfgang Oppolzer working on Palladium chemistry.
After a second post-doc at the University of Toronto working with Prof Brian Jones on enzyme-catalyzed reactions, Thomas joined Sandoz in 1991. Initially he worked in a group exploring new chemistry for antisense nucleotides and SH2-domain inhibitors and later was promoted to the unit head chemistry position in the Sandoz Respiratory Diseases research group.
During the merger between Sandoz and Ciba-Geigy it was decided to locate a new, expanded respiratory disease research group in Horsham, England. Thomas moved to Horsham in 1997 and as unit head chemistry was responsible for the build up of the medicinal chemistry group, including the design of the chemistry labs in the new research building. During his time in Horsham the medicinal chemistry team designed several development compounds, culminating with the long acting b-agonist Onbrez/Arcapta that was recently registered in the US and Europe.
In January 2003 Thomas joined the newly formed Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD) in Singapore where as Head of Chemistry he built up a medicinal chemistry department for drug discovery in Dengue, TB. In 2007 the remit of his group was expanded to include Malaria, where NITD contributed medicinal chemistry expertise to a multinational research team working towards new drugs for Malaria. This effort resulted in the new, highly promising Malaria drug NITD-609, which is slated to enter clinical phase 2 studies in late 2011. Since May 2010 Thomas is Head of Chemistry at the Experimental Therapeutics Center.
Jeffrey Hill, Ph.D.
Group Leader, Protein Biochemistry and Enzymology
Jeffrey Hill performed his doctoral research at Cardiff University in the field of aspartic proteinases where he developed an interest in drug discovery for tropical diseases. After completing a WHO funded post-doctoral project on Plasmodial proteinases he relocated to Thailand and was involved in the characterisation of proteinases from a number of viruses including dengue.
On returning to Europe he began work for SmithKlineBeecham Pharmaceuticals which then became GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals. During his time at GSK he worked in both the Discovery Research and the Genetics Research Divisions where he was involved in many aspects of target validation, assay development and biomarker discovery.
In 2006 Jeffrey returned to South East Asia and began working for the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) Singapore, first in the Bioinformatics Institute and then in the Experimental Therapeutics Centre. Currently he is a member of the senior management team, head of biology and group leader of the Protein Biochemistry and Analytics Group.