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Magdalena Slusarczyk

Dr Magdalena Slusarczyk


Research Associate / Trial Manager

School of Medicine


I am a Research Fellow at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Cardiff University with more than 10 years of research experience in the field of nucleoside phosphate prodrugs. Currently, working as a Research Fellow, I am involved in the anticancer projects aiming to deliver new clinical candidates.

I graduated in Biotechnology in 2001 from Wrocław University of Technology, Poland. Following M.S. degree, I commenced PhD in organic chemistry in K.U. Leuven (Belgium) under the supervision of Prof. Georges Hoornaert. My PhD work was focused on a design, synthesis and biological evaluation of methylene-bridged analogues of biologically active heterocycles.

In 2008, I joined Prof. Chris McGuigan’s group. During the work as a Research Associate, I was involved in many projects including anticancer program that led to discovery of clinical trial agents, such as NUC-1031 (Acelarin) and NUC-3373.

Main scientific interests include chemistry of nucleos(t)ide analogues and phosphate prodrugs, drug discovery and development process in the field of oncology and virology. Recent research interests include clinical research and a design of early phase trials.








  • Slusarczyk, M., Serpi, M., Griffith, H., McGuigan, C. and Ferrari, V. 2015. Gemcitabine Prodrugs. WO 2015/198058; GB51857 [Patent].









To date my research has been largely focused on the rational design and synthesis of nucleoside phosphate prodrugs with potential anticancer activity using the ProTide technology. This approach, applied to the both anticancer and antiviral clinical or non-clinical nucleoside analogue (NA) therapeutics can significantly enhance their therapeutic efficacy by overcoming the key resistance mechanisms associated with the clinical use of NAs such as uptake, activation and breakdown. My research is externally funded by NuCana plc, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company based in Edinburgh, with our main interest in developing anticancer medicines to significantly improve treatment outcomes for patients. The over-decade collaboration with NuCana led to the discovery and clinical development of the three ProTide agents, Acelarin, NUC-3373 and NUC-7738. The most clinically advanced Acelarin (NUC-1031), the ProTide transformation of gemcitabine, in June 2019 received orphan drug designation from the FDA for the treatment of biliary tract cancer. Current collaboration with the scientists at the University of Sussex, Brighton and Sussex Medical School and University of St Andrews, School of Medicine is focused on screening and understanding the potential mechanisms of action of novel ProTides in different cancer cell lines.

In the past, in collaboration with Rega Institute, I was involved in many projects aiming to design, synthesise and biologically evaluate compounds against different types of viruses.




  • M.S degree in Biotechnology, Wrocław University of Technology, Poland, 2001
  • PhD in Organic Chemistry, K.U. Leuven, Belgium, 2007
  • MSc in Clinical Research, Cardiff University, 2023

Key expertise areas

  • Heterocyclic and medicinal chemistry
  • Nucleos(t)ide analogues and phosphate prodrugs chemistry
  • Diastereomers separation, HPLC chromatography
  • NMR spectroscopy 
  • Mass spectrometry
  • UV-Vis spectroscopy
  • Enzymatic assays
  • Drug discovery and development process in the field of oncology
  • Clinical Trial Management (IMP and non-IMP)