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Dr Christopher Jones: oration

Read Professor Richard Guy's oration on Dr Christopher Jones for the honorary degree of Doctor of Science in June 2015.


Christopher Jones received a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Bath in 1980. The following year, he became a qualified pharmacist and member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. Subsequently, after three years as a formulation scientist at Glaxo Research, he returned to Bath to study for his PhD. in Pharmaceutics, receiving his doctorate in 1986.

Since then, Dr Jones has pursued an exemplary career as a dedicated industrial pharmaceutical scientist, rising to his current position of Vice President & Global Head of Pharmaceutical Development, at AstraZeneca. Remarkably, during his 30 years in the pharmaceutical industry, Dr Jones has been involved in the development of numerous successful and innovative medicines, including Zoladex, Arimidex, Casodex, Faslodex, Iressa and Lynparza in oncology, Crestor and Bydureon in cardiovascular disease and diabetes, Merrem in infection, Symbicort and Pulmicort in respiratory, and Seroquel, Zomig, and Diprivan in neurology.

Dr Jones’ career began in product development at ICI Pharmaceuticals, working primarily on parenteral drug products, including the novel general anaesthetic, Diprivan. This led to progressively more senior managerial roles, first at Zeneca Pharmaceuticals and then AstraZeneca where, in 1999, Dr Jones was promoted to Vice President, Pharmaceutical & Analytical R&D, at the Alderley (UK) and Wilmington (US) sites of the company. During the next 4 years, Dr Jones established an AZ Centre of Excellence in complex parenterals and his team delivered several important (and successful) products to the market, including Crestor, Iressa, Faslodex and Zomig Nasal Spray.

From 2003 to 2005, Dr Jones was based in Sweden and directed the AZ sites at Charnwood (UK) and Lund (Sweden). New products resulting from this role included the very successful Symbicort metered dose inhaler and the Pulmicort turbohaler. Subsequently, Dr Jones assumed leadership of the Global Product Team responsible for the Symbicort brand, securing regulatory approval for a remarkably effective medicine, the global sales of which exceeded $3B in 2014.

This remarkable achievement resulted in Dr Jones’ appointment as the AZ Vice President responsible for the integration of MedImmune, AZ’s biological arm, following its acquisition in 2007. Here, he was responsible for overseeing and coordinating the organisation model design and transition plans for all aspects of the business including research and development, sales and marketing, and the commercial supply chain.

In 2009, Dr Jones was appointed to his current role of Vice President & Global Head of Pharmaceutical Development. In this position, he is responsible for designing and developing new medicines and their manufacturing processes from discovery through development to post launch optimisation. He now leads pharmaceutical scientists across the UK, US, Sweden, Germany, India & China and plays key roles in AZ’s global strategy for the innovation and development of new medicinal products.

Since graduating from Bath, Dr Jones has been a staunch supporter and advocate for our university, and he is presently a member of the University’s Ventures Board, which is responsible to the University Council for approving arrangements for the commercialisation of the university’s intellectual property. Further, Dr Jones and his wife are keen supporters of The Edge, the university’s new arts and management building.

In summary, there is no doubt that Christopher Jones has had a major impact on the success of one of the U.K.’s flagship pharmaceutical companies. He is a passionate supporter of the University of Bath and his willingness to share his insight and knowledge is a major benefit, not only to the Ventures Board, but also more broadly to healthcare researchers across the campus.

He is a credit to our University.

Chancellor, I present to you Christopher Jones, who is eminently worthy to receive the Degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.

Professor Richard Guy

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