Edinburgh cancer discovery accelerator Cumulus hires chief scientific officer with 'invaluable' skills

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Drug discovery accelerator Cumulus Oncology has hired a chief scientific officer with “invaluable” skills and industry connections.

Edinburgh-headquartered Cumulus was founded in 2017 to create spin-out companies around novel anti-cancer therapies that are fast-tracked through development and target cancers that do not respond well to existing treatments.

Its newly appointed chief scientific officer, Ian Waddell, is a biochemist with “career-long expertise” in oncology-focused drug discovery. He was previously chief scientific officer, early discovery, at Nasdaq-listed global contract research group Charles River Laboratories.

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Waddell, who gained a PhD in molecular medicine at the University of Dundee in the late 1980s, is also a former head of biology, drug discovery unit, at Cancer Research UK’s Manchester Institute, between 2011 and 2017. Before his stint at Cancer Research UK, he spent almost 17 years with pharma giant AstraZeneca, latterly as bioscience director, discovery medicine, oncology.

Ian Waddell, chief scientific officer, and Clare Doris, chief operating officer, of Cumulus. Picture: Stewart AttwoodIan Waddell, chief scientific officer, and Clare Doris, chief operating officer, of Cumulus. Picture: Stewart Attwood
Ian Waddell, chief scientific officer, and Clare Doris, chief operating officer, of Cumulus. Picture: Stewart Attwood

At Cumulus, Waddell will help shape ongoing scientific strategy, scope new drug discovery opportunities in novel areas of oncology, and drive industry partnerships and alliances in the UK and internationally.

Clare Wareing, chief executive and co-founder of Cumulus Oncology, said: “‘We are extremely fortunate to have attracted Ian to the Cumulus team.

“His scientific insights and track record in the oncology drug discovery and development area, coupled with his deep understanding of the relevant targets as well as his industry connections will be invaluable to our ability to scale the Cumulus business model.”

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Waddell said: “Clare and the Cumulus team have gone from strength to strength in recent times, and I can’t wait to help lead the company’s drug discovery capability. I am also greatly looking forward to working in the emerging Scottish biotech sector.”

After founding Nodus Oncology in April 2020 to conduct research into DNA damage response, Cumulus formed Modulus Oncology in September 2020 alongside the University of Sheffield.

Last month, Cumulus secured a £4.1 million investment round led by St Andrews-based investment firm Eos Advisory. Scottish Enterprise invested alongside Eos as Cumulus plans further scale, while an additional £1.5m tranche will follow later this year. On the occasion of the investment announcement, Cumulus also announced that Russell Greig had joined the board as chairman.

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