Philip Thorpe: PS-Targeting Antibody Inventor PDF Print E-mail

1951 - 2013

Peregrine Pharmaceuticals mourns the loss of Dr. Philip E. Thorpe, scientific advisor to the company and inventor of our phosphatidylserine (PS)-targeting technology on which our lead drug candidate bavituximab is based. Phil was a Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, was associated with the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center and held The Serena S. Simmons Distinguished Chair in Cancer Immunopharmacology. Phil’s achievements were numerous and included advances in drug targeting, angiogenesis, and antibody-based therapeutics which had a global impact. His loss will be felt deeply by all of us.

Phil’s research focused on the development of novel drugs targeting tumor blood vessels. It was his laboratory that made the remarkable discovery that a fatty lipid molecule, phosphatidylserine, is preferentially expressed on cancer blood vessels, where it can serve as a target to increase the specificity of drugs to the tumor.

Phil was firmly dedicated to the translation of his novel concepts in drug design into practical drug therapies for cancer, imaging agents, and anti-virals. His expertise covered a wide range of fields including protein engineering, synthetic chemistry, pharmacological testing, cell biology, and immunology. Five drugs developed wholly or partially in Phil’s laboratory have entered clinical trials and he is included in over 200 issued and pending worldwide patents, including dozens in the U.S. He is the author of more than 200 publications including articles in the fields of drug targeting, angiogenesis, and antibody-based therapeutics.

Phil was a tireless advocate as a scientific advisor to Peregrine for over 15 years.

Among other honors, Phil was one of the first recipients of the Pierce Immunotoxin Award, presented every two years for outstanding contributions to immunotoxin research, in 1998, and he received the Texas State Legislature Award for Research Excellence in 1997 as well as the American Cancer Society Award of Excellence in 1999.

Phil graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacology from the University of Liverpool in 1972, and he received a Ph.D. in Immunology from the Clinical Research Centre in London in 1976. He served as a Medical Research Council Fellow at Chester Beatty Research Institute in London (now The Institute of Cancer Research) until 1981, then as Director of the Drug Targeting Laboratory, Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London until 1991, when he first joined UT Southwestern as Professor of Pharmacology. Phil also served as Associate Director of the Center for Molecular Medicine at Maine Medical Center Research Institute from 1998-1999.

Phil will be sorely missed as a colleague and friend. At Peregrine, each of us is pursuing Phil's dream of bringing important drugs to patients who need them based on his basic research. We are more motivated than ever to see this dream through.