Director, Nanomedicines Research Group, Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of British Columbia
Pieter R. Cullis, Ph.D. FRSC, FNAI (USA), Director, Nanomedicines Research Group, Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of British Columbia. Dr. Cullis and co-workers have been responsible for fundamental advances in the design and development of nanomedicines employing lipid nanoparticle (LNP) technology for cancer therapies and gene therapies. This work has contributed to five drugs that have been approved by regulatory agencies in the U.S., Europe and Canada. Dr. Cullis has co-founded ten biotechnology companies that now employ over 300 people, has published over 350 scientific articles and is an inventor on over 60 patents. He has also co-founded three not-for-profit enterprises including the Centre for Drug Research and Development, a Centre of Excellence for the Commercialization of Research (now AdMare) in 2004, the Personalized Medicine Initiative (PMI) in 2012 and the NanoMedicines Innovation Network in 2019. Dr. Cullis was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2004 and was also awarded the Prix Galien, Canada’s premier prize for achievements in pharmaceutical R&D, in 2011. Two recently approved drugs that are enabled by LNP delivery systems devised by Dr. Cullis, members of his UBC laboratory and colleagues in the companies he has co-founded deserve special emphasis. The first is Onpattro which was approved by the US FDA in August 2018 to treat the previously fatal hereditary condition transthyretin-induced amyloidosis (hATTR). Onpattro is the first RNAi drug to receive regulatory approval. The second is BNT162b2 (Comirnaty), the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech that has now (November 2021) received regulatory approval in many jurisdictions including Canada, the USA, the UK and Europe. It is anticipated that more than 3B doses of BNT162b2 will be administered worldwide in 2021 and will play a major role in ending the global Covid-19 pandemic.