Interview with Dr Tom Blackburn, conducted by Professor Tilli Tansey, for the History of Modern Biomedicine Research Group, 22 February 2016, in the School of History, Queen Mary University of London. Transcribed by Mrs Debra Gee, and edited by Professor Tilli Tansey and Dr Apostolos Zarros. The project management and the technical support (filming and production) were undertaken by Mr Adam Wilkinson and Mr Alan Yabsley, respectively.
Dr Tom Blackburn CBiol MIBiol MPhil PhD DSc HonFBPhS (b. 1949) received his degrees from Nottingham and Manchester Universities. He has held C-level executive and senior management positions at ICI Pharmaceuticals plc, Beecham Pharmaceuticals plc and SmithKline Beecham in the UK, and with two biotech companies in the US, Synaptic Pharmaceutical Corporation and Helicon Therapeutics Inc. He has led companies, departments, and project teams that identified and developed novel therapeutics, including several serotonin receptor subtype antagonists (5-HT2A, 5-HT2B, 5-HT2C and 5-HT3), galanin receptor 3 antagonist and the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant, Seroxat/Paxil. His passion, based on an extensive knowledge of pre-clinical/clinical drug development and marketing, helps to define strategies and positioning of pharmaceutical products for biotech startup companies. He is currently Founder and CEO of TPBioVentures LLC, a ‘virtual’ drug development and consultancy company in the US and UK. He has authored over 100 peer reviewed scientific papers, review articles and book chapters and is an inventor on 22 patents. He is President Emeritus of the British Pharmacological Society and a Member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. He is also a Non-Executive Director for Motac Neuroscience Ltd., a neuroscience biotechnology company specializing in Parkinson’s disease and cognitive and neurodegenerative disorders.
The History of Modern Biomedicine Research Group is funded by the Wellcome Trust, which is a registered charity (no. 210183). The current interview has been funded by the Wellcome Trust Strategic Award entitled “Makers of modern biomedicine: testimonies and legacy” (2012-2017; awarded to Professor Tilli Tansey).
The interview is part of the History of the Modern Biomedicine Interviews (Digital Collection).
Access to the transcript of this video interview and its related material:
History of Modern Biomedicine Interviews (Digital Collection), items e2016046-e2016053.
Example of how to cite: Tansey E M (intvr); Yabsley A (prod) (2016) Blackburn, Tom: 01 - Becoming a neuropharmacologist: lab technician in Liverpool (22-Feb-2016). History of Modern Biomedicine Interviews (Digital Collection), item e2016047. London: Queen Mary University of London.
Access to the transcript of a longer, audio interview:
Note: Video interviews are conducted following standard oral history methodology, and have received ethical approval (reference QMREC 0642). Video interview transcripts are edited only for clarity and factual accuracy. Related material has been deposited in the Wellcome Library.
© The Trustee of the Wellcome Trust, London, 2016
Dr Blackburn has contributed to Wellcome Witness Seminars on Drugs Affecting 5-HT Systems and Migraine: Diagnosis, Treatment and Understanding c.1960–2010.