A generous £2M donation from an inspiring alumnus will establish the first Raymond Schinazi and Family Chair of Life Sciences at the University of Bath this summer.

Scientist, pharmaceutical entrepreneur and philanthropist Professor Raymond F. Schinazi is making the endowment as part of the establishment of the new Department of Life Sciences, with the Department’s Head, Professor Philip Ingham FRS, becoming the first holder of the Raymond Schinazi and Family Chair of Life Sciences. He is also most generously making a donation to establish a new Life Sciences Innovation Fund, ‘Synergy Awards’, available to Bath academics and students.

Prof Schinazi was a refugee from Egypt in 1964 when he moved to England after winning a scholarship to sit his O and A-Levels, before joining Bath in 1968 where he completed an undergraduate degree and then PhD in Chemistry.

He went on to have an outstanding academic career in the pharmaceutical sector, working as a pharmacologist and virologist and establishing multiple successful biotech companies in the USA. Most notably, his work led to the development of several antiviral drugs effective against HIV. Today around 94% of HIV patients take one of the drugs he developed. He was also instrumental in the discovery and development of drugs for Hepatitis B and a cure for Hepatitis C.

These breakthroughs, and Prof Schinazi’s work to bring these drugs to the market, have saved many lives and improved the quality of life of millions of patients worldwide. He continues to work actively as a leading scientist and entrepreneur based at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Prof Schinazi said: “I came to the UK as an immigrant from Egypt to benefit from a British education, and I'm very grateful to Britain for providing me with an outstanding education. It’s so important to support underprivileged, bright students – especially those who are immigrants, and give them an opportunity to study at Bath. Now it is my turn to give back and to make this world a better place.”

The Department of Life Sciences at the University of Bath was established in academic year 2022/23 by merging the departments of Biology & Biochemistry, and Pharmacy & Pharmacology.

This created a cross-disciplinary, integrated and collaborative department, bringing together expertise and greater opportunities to build partnerships with the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industrial sectors, as well as the NHS.

Prof Philip Ingham said: “I’m delighted and very honoured to become the first Raymond Schinazi and Family Chair of Life Sciences at the University of Bath.

“Raymond is a hugely inspiring figure whose pioneering work illustrates what the life sciences can achieve – his research has been instrumental in turning HIV from a virus humanity was effectively defenceless against into something that can be managed with drugs, allowing patients to lead normal, healthy lives.

“We’re very grateful indeed for this gift, which will support our efforts to emulate his exciting and impactful work here at the University of Bath.”

Prof Schinazi, who is also an honorary graduate of the University, will visit Bath on 11 October to deliver an inaugural lecture entitled: "The scientific advances making hepatitis elimination possible: Translating Science to Cure", which is free and open to all to attend.

Professor Ian White, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bath, said: “The University is very grateful and humbled by this generous donation, one of the largest we’ve ever received. It’s very fitting that a pioneer in the life sciences like Raymond has decided to endow this Chair for our new Department of Life Sciences, which has ambitious aims to deliver impactful outcomes for patients and society through its life sciences research.

“We’re very proud of what Raymond has achieved since studying at Bath, and I am looking forward to welcoming him back here in October to deliver what I am sure will be a fascinating inaugural lecture.”

The inaugural lecture for the Raymond Schinazi and Family Chair of Life Sciences, delivered by Prof Raymond F. Schinazi, will be held at the University of Bath on 11 October.